Minister of Justice Anna Richardson signed the National Decree establishing the Function Book on December 20, calling it a monumental day.
PHILIPSBURG--Governor Eugene Holiday and Minister of Justice Anna Richardson have approved and signed the National Decree containing the General Measures, thereby establishing the completed Function Book. The signing took place on Monday, December 20.
The legal position “Rechtspositie Regeling” KPSM (St. Maarten Police Force), amendments to the Police Ordinance (“Politie Landsverordening”), the Organisation decree for the Justice Ministry (“Organisatie besluit Justitie”) and several decrees relating to the Immigration and Border Protection Services have all been completed and are on the legislative route. The focus will now be geared towards the completion of the “Rechtspositie regelingen” (Legal status of regulations) and the new salary tables (“Bezoldigsbesluit”), Richardson said.
According to Richardson, the newly-approved and -established Function Book will be seeing some updates in the foreseeable future as departments such as the Court of Guardianship, Judicial Institutes of St. Maarten SJIB, Miss Lalie Center (MLC), and the Law Enforcement Institute of St. Maarten, formerly known as the Justice Academy, require an update to the National Ordinance on the Organisation of Government LIOL incorporating them and thereby must first be approved by the Parliament of St. Maarten.
“The steps are underway for this process to be completed.” Richardson said.
The date 12-20-21 marks a monumental day for the Ministry of Justice, the personnel of this ministry and, by extension, the people of St. Maarten, Richardson said. “Technical staff and monitoring bodies engaged in a very meticulous process to ensure that the proper legislative process was carried out for the long-overdue Function Book of the Ministry of Justice.
“From the onset, I had taken a firm position that this process would be done the correct way to ensure the Function Book for the Ministry of Justice would be legally established, eliminating any further inconsistencies, stagnation and instability for the personnel of this ministry. With the teamwork and input of many, this goal has been achieved.”
On taking office in March 2020, Richardson made the function book her number one priority. “The function book has been an unresolved matter since 10-10-10 and has contributed to various challenges (also legally) within the Ministry of Justice,” Richardson said. “It regulates an important part of the legal status of each civil servant which ultimately defines their task, responsibilities and their salary scales.”
The Ministry of Justice’s Function Book was handed over to the Committee of Civil Servants Unions (CCSU) on December 22, 2020, three months after the installation of the workgroup, for their review and advice as required by law.
After having received feedback from the Progress Committee, the CCSU and the unions representing the civil servants in the Ministry of Justice, the function book was submitted to the Advisory Council for legal review before it was approved by the Council of Ministers on May 11, 2021.
Based on the Advisory Council’s advice, the minister’s retained attorney sat together with the unions and made the necessary adjustments, to which all parties agreed and signed a statement of assent on July 28, 2021, confirming their agreement with the updated draft.
With the approval and signatures of Governor Eugene Holiday and Minister Richardson, the function book will now be heading to the Office of the Ombudsman for a period of six weeks, during which a constitutional review will be done to review the laws that were ratified. Additionally, Richardson will be presenting a detailed description of the next step-by-step process to be followed during the upcoming budget debate in Parliament in January 2022.
Richardson expressed gratitude, saying: “I’d like to give a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of General Affairs, the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, the unions, His Excellency Governor Eugene B. Holiday and his Cabinet, my legal team, the Progress Committee and Advisory Council and all stakeholders who played a role in making this day a reality.
“I take this moment to bid each and every person who makes up the staff in service to this ministry and to the country as a whole a heartfelt ‘congratulations’. There is still more work ahead to be done. However, rest assured, I am committed to seeing it through.”