Update on Mediator Replacement

Minister of Health, Social Affairs and Labour Emil Lee


PHILIPSBURG – Based on the recent appointment of Rafael Boasman as Minister of Justice, the Ministry has received concerns from the unions and media regarding the mediator position.

Minister of Labor Emil Lee provided clarity on the situation at Wednesday’s, January 11 press briefing.

Currently, the Ministry of VSA is in the process of establishing a pool of mediators, as opposed to a full-time mediator. The pool of mediators will be on-call and will operate on a case-by-case basis in line with ILO standards. Minister Lee alluded to 3 candidates who are slated to be appointed pending approval from the Governor.

“The idea of the pool gives us a set of people with different skills sets, experiences, and knowledge. When you have one mediator, if one of the parties has an issue with the mediator it doesn’t leave them any choices and may in the end hurt the mediation process. With the pool of mediators you open the possibilities for parties who have a justified reason for not working with one of our mediators to have an alternative option. However, more importantly each of the mediators have a different set skills. Therefore, depending on whatever the dispute may be, the right mediator can be selected for the case,” stated Minister Lee.

In addition, the Minister is exploring the possibility of bringing in mediation trainers to train more persons, and possibly expand the pool. VSA is also looking at restructuring the mediation services through the establishment of an Independent Mediation Bureau. How it will function and be structured is something that is still being worked on, however, the main objective is to separate the mediator services from the Department of Labor.

In the meantime, unions can rest assured that business as usual will continue and all matters will be handled by the assistant mediator Marcelina Loblack. Loblack has been functioning in the position of Assistant Mediator since 2012, and therefore has extensive knowledge and experience in the area of Mediation. All mediation inquiries can be directed to her via e-mail: marcellina.loblack@sintmaartengov.org or via telephone numbers: 542-3704 or 542-3702.

The office is located on Cannegieter Street #46, below the Law Offices of Duncan & Brandon.