Unions reproach Duncan for “hostile behavior”

POSTED: 02/12/13 12:16 PM

St. Maarten – The police union NAPB expressed its concerns over the organization plans for the police force in a press release issued yesterday. While a workgroup negotiated these plans with the unions, the approval from Justice Minister Roland Duncan is still lacking, the union stated.

“He is of the opinion that he was not included in the workgroup and therefore he does not agree with it.”

The plans the union refers to are the organization plan, the job matrix, the placement plan, job descriptions, job evaluation and salary scales. The union notes that the ministry made certain changes to documents that regulate the legal position of police officers. “Certain words were left out or added, making it so that the minister of justice wants to micro manage the police force.”

Referring to the fact that the plans still have not been approved, the union stated: “it is unfortunate how one person can hold such a prestigious institution like the police force hostage all by himself. No matter which door you knock on, nothing is being done whatsoever.”

The union charges that the police force is “being run just like one in a banana republic.” The union will discuss the situation this week with its members.

In the press statement, the NAPB calls on the governor, the prime minister, and the vice prime minister “to look into all these matters. This minister of justice has a hostile behavior and someone should call him to order.”

A separate press release from the Wicsu/PSU and NAPB unions contains a letter addressed to the prime minister, Members of Parliament, Justice Minister Duncan and Chief Commissioner Peter de Witte. In it, the unions refer to a letter dated July 25, 2012 in which they pointed out that the police car fleet is outdated. Some cars are from 2004 and have more than 190,000 kilometers on the clock. “This is a very serious issue because it puts the safety of our dedicated officers lives’ in jeopardy,” the letter states.

According to the unions recently ten cars were ordered but only four arrived, while the force needs 50 cars or more for an up to par surveillance fleet.

The unions also ask Chief Commissioner De Witte to address the quality and quantity of police uniforms.

Another sore point is the 16.3 percent so-called Bovenwindse toelage – a bonus for civil servants working in the Windward Islands. “It was incorporated in the salaries of the island government’s civil servants and those who worked for the former federal government with the exception of the police force and immigration. It is important to do this to enable the adjustment of pensions,” the unions note.

The unions furthermore stick to their guns as far as the cost of living adjustment is concerned. The government has indicated that it is no longer possible to pay this adjustment and that a proposal for a new system would be sent to the advice committee GOA. “Up to this date, that did not take place. The union’s position is that it should be paid out. The civil servants deserve it.”

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