The Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, the Honourable Richard Panneflek, recently met with the newly appointed Director of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean, Mr. Dennis Zulu, and his support staff.
Minister Panneflek’s discussions centered around the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market, the measures taken by the government of Sint Maarten to mitigate the spread, as well as the stimulus plan to assist those affected.
The Director shared recent developments the ILO is undertaking with other Caribbean countries within the region regarding the impact that COVID-19 is having on their respective labour markets and how the ILO can provide the necessary technical assistance which would result in labour markets becoming more resilient and robust.
Minister Panneflek emphasized the importance of the availability of reliable and accurate labour market statistics. These statistics can then be monitored through a Labour Market Information System (LMIS) that would allow for the development of evidence-based policies and legislation.
Sint Maarten participation in regional and international conferences as it relates to labour was also discussed, such as the Sub-Regional Meeting of Caribbean Ministers of labour which is a bi-annual meeting where critical issues related to labour are deliberated and discussed. Also, the International Labour Conference (ILC) which is an annual event held in Geneva, Switzerland, where almost all countries of the world attend to discuss matters relevant to the world of work.
Such conferences grants Sint Maarten the opportunity to share experiences, common interest and concerns with other countries, helps foster relationships for cooperation at the broader regional and international levels.
Minister Panneflek expressed the importance of the Social Dialogue between representatives of government, employers ’and workers' via the Tripartite Committee. The Director acknowledged and applauded this initiative of the Minister as the ILO is a strong proponent of Social Dialogue.
The meeting with the Director was well received and it is therefore the intention of the Government of Sint Maarten to continue the already established mutual cooperation with the ILO Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean on all labour related matters.