PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — On Monday, November 30th the Democratic Party of St. Maarten (DP) held a meet and greet session with newly installed Minister of Public Health, Social Development & Labor Mr. Emil Lee. The session which was held at the John Larmonie Cultural Center in Philipsburg gave the Minister the opportunity to meet with the membership of the Party and give an overview of his goals and plans for the Ministry.
In his opening remarks Minister Lee thanked the leader of the DP, MP Sarah Wescot-Williams, for having the trust and faith in him to execute the tasks of his office. The Minister also praised the workers and department heads in his ministry for their hard work.
After a brief introduction on his first few days in office and an overview of his first impressions Mr. Lee opened up the floor to questions from the audience. The questions ranged from some seeking clarification on SZV procedures, healthcare coverage and the current state of the St. Maarten Medical Center to issues with labor law practices including the abuse of the six-month contract and counter-part policy.
No punches were pulled as the Minister was even asked about the practice of specific types of businesses skirting labor policies by using fictitious ads for vacancies that do not exist. The Minister answered each question candidly and the answers he could not provide he made assurances that he would look into.
As the evening drew to a close and it was obvious that there were many more persons that wanted to ask questions and give their observations to the Minister, it was decided and announced by the DP Board to host more theme specific sessions in the near future.
In addition, MP Wescot-Williams encouraged the membership to reach out to Minister Lee and the Party leadership to make known any situations and grievances that they may have. By doing so, she assured the gathering, the Minister would be able to bring some of the concerns to his Council of Ministers’ meetings.
At the end of the session many persons approached both Mr. Lee and the leadership to applaud the Party on providing the opportunity to interact with the new Minister.