Published On: Sat, Jan 9th, 2021

According to Justice Minister department managers fiddled with piket-allowance

PHILIPSBURG – Management of “certain departments within the Justice Ministry” were booking the piket-stipend for all the days of a month, Justice Minister Anna Richardson said on Friday during a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee of Justice. This way, these managers added around 2,000 guilders to their monthly salaries. “This is an unlawful practice,” Richardson said. “Why would anyone want to be on call every day of the month?”

The minister was answering questions MPs posed in an earlier committee meeting on December 14 of last year. A large part of her answers dealt with the function books that are relevant for the position and remuneration of police officers. Richardson gave police officers and MPs some “good news:” the function books are ready and currently at the Council of Advice for review. Richardson expects that the function books will be lawfully in place by July 1, 2021.

MP Christophe Emmanuel asked in December why the function book of 2016 is not being used. He said that some personnel already received their functions based on this document.

Richardson: “There is no function book that was established by national decree. The function book MP Emmanuel refers to is a draft and that should not have been used until it had gone through the proper legal channels.”

“The ugly truth is that persons who received their positions based on the draft legislation acquired those positions unlawfully. The consequences of this act will be identified in the very near future,” the minister said.

Richardson said that there has been “much misleading information” about the Minister of Justice’s perceived refusal to promote officers and to abide by a judge’s ruling.

“A national decree is required to officially instate an officer within the Ministry of Justice. It must be signed by the governor and after that, by the minister. A draft function book and two ‘rechtsposities’ (KPNA 2000 and KPSM 2011) were used only when it was proven to be beneficial to officers.”

The governor stopped signing national decrees in 2017 after his expectation that there would soon be a completed function book did not become a reality. Furthermore, the Council of Advice gave a negative advice about the 2016 draft.

Richardson also referred to a covenant former Minister of Justice Edson Kirindongo signed on August 26, 2016, with union representatives. This covenant contained an agreement to work towards the completion of the function book within one year.

“The minister signed that covenant without support and approval from the Council of Ministers,” Richardson said. “It also did not go to the relevant vetting departments before signing. None of the items referred to in the covenant have been established and therefore it no longer serves a purpose.”

The minister said that the department of Personnel and Organization and the Finance Department both disagree with the 2016 draft function book. “It can only serve as a wish list of the unions for amendments to the ‘rechtspositieregeling’ of 2011.

There seems to be light at the end of the tunnel though. Richardson said that the draft function book was handed over to the civil servants organization CCSU on December 22; it has six weeks to review the document and to submit advice and suggestions. It will then go to the governor to be enacted in a national decree, a process that should be completed by July 1 of this year.

Richardson emphasized that only officers of the police force are entitled to retroactive pay. The 16.3 percent so-called “Bovenwindse toelage” (an allowance for working on the Leeward Islands that was paid when the force operated as the KPNA, the police organization of the former Netherlands Antilles) was not incorporated into the gross salaries for KPSM-officers since 10-10-10.

Lastly, Richardson said that the estimated cost for the construction of a new prison, based on consultations with UNOPS (the United Nations Office for Project Services), is $32,338,643. The Kingdom made €30 million available for the new prison. Based on the current rate of exchange this amounts to $36.6 million.

The Netherlands has also allocated €16,391,000 ($20 million) for border control functions.


Recordings Justice Committee meetings:
December 14, 2020
January 8, 2021