PHILIPSBURG--The Minister of Justice was ordered by the judge in the Civil Servants Court to make a new decision on the request of a civil servant at the Immigration Department pertaining to her function and salary scale. Country St. Maarten was ordered to pay the NAf. 700 cost of these legal proceedings, the Court decided on Friday.
The case was filed by member of the Immigration Department Rignalda Soraida Stefania, who has been a civil servant since 1992. She was assisted in this case by Police Inspector Lyndon Lewis.
Since St. Maarten became a country within the Kingdom of The Netherlands in 2010 she received two promotions by national decrees which were signed by the governor and the minister of justice. Sometime after receiving her last promotion as an advisor (“Medewerker Advies”) she stumbled upon a document with regard to the functions and salary scales within the Immigration Department and realised that her past and current salary scales did not correspond with those mentioned in the document.
Stefania sent two letters to former Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever, and received a reply from the minister on August 5, 2019, indicating that an advice and a concept national decree had been sent to the governor who returned her file with an attached letter.
According to the minister, the governor’s letter stated that Stefania’s function does not exist in the current function book and, therefore, that her claim could not be warranted until the function book is formalised.
The letter further stated that the formation plan has not yet been adopted and that it is unclear when this is going to happen.
This did not sit well with Stefania and she decided to petition the Court, asking the Court to grant her right to her correct scale in conformance with the draft function book, based on the principle of equality.
During the hearing in this case, which took place on December 12, 2019, the ministry’s legal representative, attorney-at-law Richard Gibson Jr., pleaded with the Court to declare the civil servant’s case inadmissible and to reject all her claims.
However, the Court found the reasoning behind the contested decree inadequate and “insufficiently clear,” it was stated in the verdict.
According to the ministry, no decision can be made on the request because there is no function book. “The mere circumstance that there is no job book obviously does not stand in the way of evaluating the complainant’s job,” the Court said in the judgment.
The Court annulled the contested decree and ordered the minister of justice to make a new decision before February 17, 2020. The judge did not find any grounds to dictate the content of the new decision.