Published On: Sat, Apr 29th, 2023

Ministry of Justice takes on tedious and monumental task diligently

~ The amount of data being processed is equivalent to doing a census ~

PHILIPSBURG — Why does it take so long before the Ministry of Justice had completed all the necessary information about its staff members? Minister Anna Richardson took StMaartenNews.com on a tour to show what is happening behind the scenes: a monumental undertaking with a single goal: to make sure that in the end every individual staff member receives what is owed to them.


Florence Marlin is the ministry’s Acting Secretary-General, its head of the Human Resources Department and also a member of the Placement Committee.

“Everybody will have received a placement letter,” Ms. Marlin said. The information these letters contain obviously has to be accurate. It is retrieved from an Excel-sheet that is produced by the different department heads. It shows the history of each individual staff member, indicating their function and on which date that came into play. It soon appeared that not all information was readily available. Marlin had to look for it and to that end she contacted department heads, who in turn spoke with their staff members for the necessary corrections.

Saskia Thomas-Solomon is the head of the Financial Division, the place where the final calculations are made. “It is a monumental task,” she says, “Because we are dealing with thirteen years of data. We look at what staff members actually received. We are talking about information about more than 700 staff members going back all the way to 10-10-10.”

That is not an easy task. There are personnel files for each individual year that show changes in social premiums and taxes. “We calculate the social and pension premiums and the taxes to get a full account of what it would have cost the government.”

Those calculations are crucial for the eventual outcome: “One increment for a group makes a difference of a million guilders.”

Finding the correct information is a challenge because the ministry used different salary systems and codes over the years. “One year worth of data is more than 95,000 lines of code,” Thomas-Solomon says. “We have to figure out whether someone received retroactive payments, what premiums they contributed and what allowances they received. A 25 percent allowance makes a big difference in the end figure.”

With the tour for StMaartenNews.com, minister Richardson wanted to show what is happening behind the scenes and to explain why the whole process is taking so much time.

Readers can watch the video below.

Related articles:
Part 1 – StMaartenNews.com exclusive interview with Minister of Justice Anna Richardson
Part 2 – Minister Richardson: “My intention is that the staff will be fairly compensated”
Part 3 – A behind the scenes look at the work being done at the Ministry of Justice