Former Kadaster Director fights his dismissal in court

PHILIPSBURG--Former Kadaster Director Clemens Roos requested on Friday that the Court of First Instance declare his dismissal as per August 1 invalid and award him payment of four months’ salary until the expiration of his contract on December 1.
 
Roos has been employed by the St. Maarten Kadaster as Conservator of Mortgages since 2009. He was appointed Kadaster Director as per January 13, 2011. He has been registered with the Civil Registry since 2009.
 
Roos was arrested on June 24 on request of the Prosecutor’s Office in the Netherlands in connection with a pending sentence for having committed large-scale fraud with social benefits in the 1990s.
 
However, on August 7 the Court in The Hague ruled in favour of Roos, who was held at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport’s detention centre. Based on this Court decision, the Dutch Prosecutor’s Office granted Roos a 475-day postponement of the execution of his prison sentence until the expiration of his contract with the Kadaster. This would enable Roos to transfer his work and to “contribute to the Kadaster’s continuity,” as his attorney put it at the time.
 
In the meantime, the Kadaster had been advertising the vacancy and had sworn in Kadaster Manager Marcia Peterson as Acting Conservator of Mortgages, the second function held by Roos, on July 3.
 
On his return to St. Maarten, Roos was invited for a meeting at the Kadaster on August 19. He was under the impression that the terms for him to serve out his contract were to be discussed. Instead, only the terms for his dismissal were on the agenda, his attorney Jason Rogers told the Court.
 
“Since then I have made attempts to settle the matter on behalf of my client, but due to the Kadaster’s very prominent place in St. Maarten, the high publicity surrounding this case and the interference of politicians these efforts have proved in vain,” Rogers said Friday.
 
He said the meeting of August 19 had been in fact no more than a formality, as the Kadaster’s Supervisory Board, represented in the injunction by Secretary Vincent Boetius, already had decided to dismiss Roos on July 30.
 
The reason for his dismissal as per August 19 was that Roos had failed to inform the Kadaster about his pending prison sentence. He had submitted a certificate of good contact from his native Suriname, but had failed to bring one from the Netherlands.
 
Questioned by the Judge, Roos said he had not given the pending sentence any thought. “I just wanted that job. It was the dream job for me,” he said.
 
His lawyer, who admitted that the situation had been an embarrassment for the Kadaster, stated that his client had an impeccable work record and always had performed his duties to his employer’s satisfaction. Rogers further claimed that the dismissal as Conservator had been incorrect, because only the Minister of Finance holds the authority to do so.
 
As a sign of goodwill, Roos handed over his work laptop computer, cell phone, credit card and personal file to Kadaster’s legal representative, attorney Camiel Koster, during the hearing.
 
The Kadaster contested Roos’ claim, as it believes it had handled the matter carefully. Attorney Koster said that Roos, who had been employed in a confidential position in the real-estate market, which is susceptible to fraud, had withheld “essential information” from the Kadaster, which had caused a breach of trust.
 
Roos should have informed his employer about his pending prison sentence, said Koster
 
“All this time he remained silent, which is unforgivable. … If the Kadaster had known this they would never have appointed Roos,” Koster said. He concluded that Roos’ claims concerning payment of salaries and emoluments should be rejected.
 
Parties have until next week Friday to reach an amicable solution. If they fail to do so, the Court will hand down its verdict on November 13.
 
The Daily Herald

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