PHILIPSBURG--Setting another deadline for retroactive payments to justice workers would not serve the process. Presidents and representatives of the unions came to that conclusion during a meeting with Minister of Justice Anna Richardson on Wednesday.
According to Richardson, union presidents shared their concerns in an open and frank manner, yet expressed understanding of the complexity of the tasks being executed by the ministry to redress a 13-year-long unjust situation. “From expressed sentiments, it was understood that while patience is running low and frustrations are high given the lengthy process, the process is in the final stretch to completion,” Richardson said.
Windward Islands Civil Servants Union/Private Sector Union (WICSU/PSU) President Sharon Cangieter said that with the progress made and the need for accurate calculations, setting another deadline would not serve any process. “Mrs. Cangieter believed that through collaborated efforts a successful conclusion could be achieved and felt it of greater importance and in the benefit of all to place focus and energy on this end goal,” Richardson said.
During the meeting, Richardson provided all present with a detailed update on the progress made by the ministry with regard to pending matters in relation to the placement process and the calculations being made for justice workers eligible for retroactive pay, due to the incorporation of the 16.3% allowance into the salary base for the period since 10-10-10 and 3.2% cost of living adjustment per 2012.
Police union NAPB President Rogerrel Mauricia seconded Cangieter’s sentiments and reaffirmed NAPB’s willingness and availability to assist in the completion of the processes, in the interest of all justice workers.
Richardson welcomed the positions taken by all presidents, including ABVO President Sharlon Cathalina, who conveyed support for the objective of all to work together to bring a long-overdue matter to a positive conclusion.
Parties discussed the completion of the legislative process and carefully estimated a completion timeframe, to which no party set exact dates, considering that the ultimate completion of the process resulting in payment execution would require actions of other parties not at the table.
Richardson, reassured by the pledged support and commitment from the unions, also considering that earlier in the day police officers had offered to assist with calculation reviews and completions, expressed the gratitude and continued determination and dedication of her team to complete placement offers and calculations for eligible retroactive pay at the soonest. “This is the last haul, and together, completion of all required tasks, in the interest of all justice workers is a definite achievable goal,” she said.
Richardson also reaffirmed her open-door policy and willingness to meet with her workers. The Human Resources team will continue with the issuance of placement offer letters and meeting with justice workers seeking information or clarification, she said. “The granted access to historic payroll information will now facilitate the calculation process and required accuracy of calculations.”
Richardson is still perusing all possibilities legally available to accommodate the justice workers during this final stretch to the finish line. The overtime issue was addressed and she reassured all in attendance that the required communication would be reissued to rectify any misconceptions regarding this matter.
The meeting was concluded in a unified manner, with all on board to complete the trajectory surrounding the rectification of legal positions of justice workers once and for all, Richardson concluded. “With everyone on board I am confident that we can complete our tasks faster.”