Fighting for what belongs to us

Dear Editor,

After reading the front page of “The Daily Herald” on January 29, 2024, about the Committee for Financial Supervision noting that the Government of St. Maarten achieved a possible surplus of between 20 to 30 million guilders in 2023, I laughed out loud in my house while reading the article to a friend. I laughed because the Government of St. Maarten failed to pay teachers at subsidized schools cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in December 2023.

Moreover, the Government of St. Maarten also promised all civil servants and teachers a 2% indexing in salary at the end of January. This did not occur. Moreover, the Government of St. Maarten did not pay teachers working at subsidized schools their COLA at the conclusion of January. Furthermore, several school boards have not paid increments in salary to teachers working at subsidized schools. Therefore, many teachers are owed three different types of payments.

It is very troubling that the caretaker minister of education and minister of finance have said nothing about why there has been a delay in paying COLA to teachers working at subsidized schools. Additionally, both ministers have been mum about why the 2% indexing has not been paid to teachers and civil servants. This was a vow made by the outgoing government.

Several teachers and civil servants asked me last weekend if they were being punished because the caretaker government is heading to the opposition benches. Others inquired if this was a ploy or trick to entice teachers and civil servants to vote for the present caretaker government.

During the Council of Ministers press briefing nothing was said by the Prime Minister about these issues. The 2 journalists did not even ask the prime minister about these fiscal issues either. It seems that no one cares about what happens to us.

These payments are worth fighting for because they are due to teachers and civil servants. Perhaps teachers all across this country need to do something about this situation themselves. Maybe one day that time may come.

Kenneth Cook

The Daily Herald

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