SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Social Economic Council of Sint Maarten (SER) presented its 2021 Annual Report to the Honorable Prime Minister, Silveria E. Jacobs on Wednesday, September 28. SER Chairman Damien Richardson and Acting Secretary-General/Senior Policy Advisor, Sharon Arnell presented the report to Jacobs. The 2021 Annual report provides the history of the advisory body dating back to May 2011, as well as an overview of the activities, achievements, and financial information.
On May 1st, 2021, the SER celebrated its 10-year anniversary. The SER was established on October 10, 2010, by organic law, the National Ordinance Social Economic Council (AB 2010 GT no.19). However, the advisory body became operational on May 1st, 2011. The year 2021 proved to be a challenging year for the SER, the Board was appointed in February 2021, however, due to various factors the board meetings resumed in August 2021.
Despite the delay and limited activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SER provided the government with three solicited advices, one regarded the Draft National Ordinance changing the National Ordinance Sickness and Accident Insurance in relation to adjusting the wage limits and the other advice concerned the one-time minimum hourly wage increase.
Both advice requests originated from the Ministry of Social Development, Public Health, and Labor. The SER also conducted research on the Cost of living in Sint Maarten. This advice request was received from the Minister of General Affairs. In addition to the three (3) solicited advice from the government, the SER received three (3) advice requests from Parliament. The advice requests received were from Member of Parliament, the honorable M. Gumbs of the Party for Progress (PFP), Independent Member of Parliament, the honorable S. L. Duncan, and from Parliament’s committee of Kingdom Affairs and Interparliamentary Relations submitted by Member of Parliament the honorable S. Biljani.
The SER has documented its history as the advisory body accomplished a few milestones despite its challenges. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic the SER managed to keep its activities going, the board meetings and stakeholders’ consultations were conducted online as were meetings with international organizations and the SERs within the Dutch Kingdom.
“As an advisory and consultative body of employers’ representatives, employee representatives, and independent experts, the Social and Economic Council aims to help create consensus on socio-economic issues,” SER said in a press release. SER’s advice is guided by the objective to focus on social prosperity in its widest sense with the aim to provide the country and its citizens with a good quality of life. This includes not only material progress such as increased affluence and production, but also social progress such as improved welfare and social cohesion. For more information on the 2021 Annual Report and the history of the SER, please visit our website www.ser.sx