June 6, 2023 –Philipsburg – The Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, Omar Ottley, led a high-level delegation to the 111th International Conference held in Geneva. The delegation included Secretary-General Joy Arnell, Department Head of Labor Linda Froston, Cabinet Members Alissa Rios and Johnnie Richardson, as well as representatives from the employers’ Ms. Edna Evans and employees’ organization Mr. Stuart Johnson. During the conference, St. Maarten was called in front of the Committee on the Application of Standards (CAS) to defend its case against allegations regarding Convention 87. Minister Ottley presented a compelling argument on behalf of the country on Monday, June 12, 2023.
On Thursday, June 15th, a decision was rendered, bringing great pride to St. Maarten in efforts to increase collaborations between the Government and its Social partners. The efforts of Minister Omar Ottley and his support staff successfully saved the country from international embarrassment by not having St. Maarten placed on the international provisional list.
The committee expressed its willingness to assist the Government of St Maarten, in implementing recommendations provided. With one of its main points being “to ensure in law and practice the ability of workers and employers organizations to establish higher level organizations in full freedom, and to engage in dialogue with the organizations and ensure that public sector workers are able to fully exercise the rights and guarantees protected under the convention in law and practice”
The team eagerly anticipates engaging in open dialogue with all social partners to find an amicable solution.
In addition to participating in the 111th International Conference, Minister Ottley took the opportunity to meet with fellow ministers, Glenbert Cruz from Aruba and Karien van Gennip, from the Netherlands delegation. Productive discussions were held regarding the possibility of forming a “vier landen overleg” committee focusing on labor and social development.
Minister Omar Ottley expressed his gratitude for the support and dedication as he emphasized the importance of collaboration with international partners to ensure a prosperous and fair labor environment for the people of St. Maarten. The successful outcome at the 111th International Conference in Geneva marks a significant milestone for St. Maarten’s commitment to upholding international labor standards.
As Minister Omar Ottley stated in his presentation to the committee members at the CAS, which represents the tri-partite, he views this not as a combative moment but an opportunity to come to amicable solutions for the sake of the country. He reiterated his request to the ILO for the provision of technical assistance for the implementation of the recommendations.
Minister Ottley remains dedicated to fostering positive relationships with all stakeholders and aims to implement the conference’s recommendations in a manner that promotes social harmony and economic growth.