Unions present Wilsoe and Schotte with declaration on legal positions

POSTED: 11/8/11 6:43 PM

WILLEMSTAD, Curacao – “Social Justice and a-social minister.” That slogan was screamed by more than 300 police officers several times Monday morning in front of the Justice Ministry. The officers went to the ministry to present Justice Minister Elmer Wilsoe with a declaration that they don’t want to renegotiate their legal position. They’ve also presented their declaration to Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte.

Wilsoe had begun the process to initiate summary proceedings to force the officers back to work, but he withdrew it because the employees returned to work based on a pledge that the minister would discuss the matter with their unions on Monday evening. The three unions at the meeting were the ABVO, NAPB and SA. The greatest issue is the actual status of each of the officers and what allowances they are entitled to. The unions had thought the issue was ready for approval until a few weeks ago when the minister stated that the overtime rate of four guilders per hour, per night instituted in 2005 had no legal basis. Wilsoe says he only has enough to pay 40 cents per hour, but the unions will not accept that and expect their declaration, signed by half the police force will lead to a change in the minister’s position.
“If he doesn’t change his mind, he can expect anything next week and it will be his responsibility,” ABVO President Wendy Calmes said.

Wilsoe has said he’ll stay calm in the face of any action and will deploy the Control and Security Service (SKS) if necessary to ensure that public order is maintained. The minister also chose to meet the officers at the ministry instead of going to the Because Entertainment Center where the officers had gathered. At a given moment he even threatened to walk away if they did not hear him out. He eventually consulted the union leaders – Calmes, Marco Lacle (SAP) and Ronaldo Abrahamsz (NAPB) – and agreed to meet them in the evening.

The group of protesting officers then marched to Fort Amsterdam and the union leaders presented Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte with their declaration. He assured them he’d follow developments including the outcome of the meeting between the Justice Minister and the unions. Parties have agreed to continue their meeting on Tuesday. At that time they’ll have further discussions on a committee that Wilsoe plans to involve to assess the issues.

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