Info session on dismantling and personnel matters gearing towards Country St. Maarten


On January 4, 2010, at the Philipsburg Cultural & Community Center, the Government of the Netherlands Antilles and the Island Territory of St. Maarten held a joint information session for the Management staff of the Island and Federal Government Civil Service regarding the dismantling process and personnel matters.

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There will be 5 other more such sessions to inform the Civil Servants on the island and federal level.

Present were Sector Directors, Department Heads, Federal Civil Servants from different sections.

For the opening session, Commissioner Xavier Blackman provided the opening words of welcome.

"Let me first say," Commissioner Blackman said, "Happy New Year, and I wish you the very best. I hope that the days off allowed you to renew your energy for the work ahead."

"As commissioner of personnel, I am happy to be here. A special ‘Thank you’ to you for being here this afternoon. Your presence here is proof of your commitment to your job."

"I want to thank the central government as well for these sessions, and for passing the very important law to begin the transfer process."

Commissioner Blackman said that though the time is limited, this joint information session signals the actual start of the transfer. Change always presents challenges. With the merging of 2 governments, this change will present many opportunities. It is up to us to meet these challenges head on. We have been going through and will go through some more training in the areas of change management courses.

The only way for both governments to achieve what is outlined is to keep on track, to execute well with the staff. We all have to support each other. We owe this to the people we serve, the Netherlands Antilles and St. Maarten."

Commissioner Blackman ended with the hopeful words: "I will continue to actively participate, and I look forward to your input."

The Minister of Constitutional Affairs, Roland Duncan gave a presentation to those present, outlining the historical process and explaining the current situation. Minister Duncan touched on several points, namely: the Road ahead; 10-10-10; phased dismantling; getting files updated; and responding to concerns of public servants.

Basically, the Minister said, the Kingdom Charter will be scratched. The Netherlands Antilles will disappear. While the BES (Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba) will be part of the Dutch constitution, St. Maarten and Curacao will become entities on their own. Provisions were made, Minister Duncan said, in case Curacao or St. Maarten is not ready to comply with all requirements. Thus, if necessary, there will be phased dismantling.

There are some exceptions, however that the Minister pointed out and those are: the Common Court of Justice, which is an autonomous court, an entity on its own; Law of procedure, family law, civil law. There will be an effort to try as best to keep them the same, Minister Duncan pointed out.

Every civil servant will "follow" his or her tasks. Current federal Civil Servants will function as such, on island level. But their "bosses" will be the Executive Council. The federal workers will report to the EXCO. This will end when the transfer of tasks/job takes place, which should be before 10-10-10. For now, the LMA, the labor laws of the Netherlands Antilles, will be continually enforced. There might be adjustments in time.

The next presenter was Luud Hakkens, of Personnel Affairs on the Island Level, who gave a break down of personnel matters.

He dealt with such issues as the new organization, becoming country St. Maarten, transfer of tasks, transfer of personnel, the current stage and progress of the OBF (organization development, remuneration, performance improvement project), and the social charter, among other issues.

There will be other information session through this week for the civil servants of different sectors and departments.