PHILIPSBURG--The Unified Unions represented by Windward Islands Chamber of Labour Unions (WICLU) have filed an official complaint of racial discrimination, embezzlement and theft with the Prosecutor’s Office.
During the formal manifestation by the Unified Unions on June 22, the unions made a stop at the Prosecutor’s Office to deliver the letter, but were directed by staff that the complaint should be sent digitally in adherence to the COVID-19 measures. The official complaint was filed digitally on June 24.
The letter was addressed to Attorney-General of Curaçao and St. Maarten and of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, A. Schram, was titled “Punishable acts of racial discrimination, embezzlement and theft”. In fact, Schram is the former Attorney-General. The current Attorney-General is Roger Bos.
In this letter WICLU provided an outline of the events from May 15, when the Kingdom Council of Ministers received the proposal for liquidity support for Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten, to June 12, when WICLU submitted a letter to Governor of St. Maarten, Eugene Holiday and State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops denouncing the cost-cutting conditions imposed on the three islands in the Kingdom.
In the complaint letter, WICLU listed additional infractions of the Penal Code of St. Maarten.
In one infraction the union said the cut in remuneration of the workers of St. Maarten against their will was considered daylight robbery, according to Article 2:228.
The union noted that Parliament had approved the funds of the 2020 budget to pay the public sector workers’ salaries without any pay cuts, whereas government-owned companies are currently implementing salary cuts for their workers. This, the union said, violates Article 2:298 of the Penal Code.
WICLU also noted that the Council of Ministers, government-owned companies and private sector companies have started the implementation of cost-cutting measures proposed by Knops, which violates Article 1:119(1) of the Penal Code.
The unions said in the letter of complaint that no “solidarity” cuts had been imposed on workers in the Dutch European part of the Kingdom or in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba (the BES islands), nor on the Governor of St. Maarten, or the Dutch European police and Customs officers in St. Maarten.
“WICLU is of the opinion that all workers in the Kingdom should be treated the same: none should be obliged to be cut in their remuneration,” the letter stated.
The union further listed several infractions according to date.
According to the complaint, from May 1 to 12, WICLU said there was an intellectual and cross-border crime committed. “CFT [Committee for Financial Supervision – Ed.] chairman and State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations argue for discriminatory ‘solidarity’ cuts to be imposed on workers in three Caribbean countries of the Kingdom,” stated the letter.
“On May 15, the ministers in the Kingdom Council of Ministers [took] the decision to agree with the discriminatory ‘solidarity’ cuts in remuneration of workers in the three Caribbean countries of the Kingdom.
“On May 20, the St. Maarten Council of Ministers [accepted] unconditionally the ‘solidarity’ discriminatory cuts in remuneration of the workers in St. Maarten to get liquidity support from the Dutch government.”
WICLU further requested from the Prosecutor an investigation and prosecution of those who they state are committing the crimes mentioned in the complaint letter.
The complaint letter was signed by the presidents of the unified unions that fall under the WICLU: ABVO St. Maarten, NAPB (police union St. Maarten), Windward Islands Civil Servants Union/Private Sector Union (WICSU/PSU), Windward Islands Federation of Labour (WIFOL), St. Maarten Communication Union (SMCU) and Windward Islands Health Care Union and Associates (WIHCUA).