Minister of Health, Social Affairs and Labour Emil Lee

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — On Friday June 1st, the Ministry of VSA and the VNG International will be hosting the first Mediation Congress on Sint Maarten made possible by with financial support of BZK. The congress aims at increasing awareness for mediation post-Irma as a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), a way of resolving disputes between two or more parties with concrete effects. The congress will be held at the Belair Community Center from 9am – 3pm on Friday, June 1, 2018.

 “Clearly, after hurricane Irma, with increase competition for less resources, there is clearly a lot of tension in the economy, in all different levels of our society. One way of conflict resolution is through dialogue, through mediation. And the skills that it takes to properly mediate are also skills that are very valuable to the Ministry. Many of the staff members here that are doing intakes for financial aid, medical aid and whatever type of assistance that persons can receive via the Ministry. The staff is obviously sometimes dealing with very tense situations, very frustrated people. And so, learning skills on how to resolve conflicts, how to mediate those, are important skills for the Ministry and for the community to have.” – Emil Lee, Minister of Public Health

The congress will be interactive, with a professional lineup of speakers and presentations, offering the opportunity for participants to ask questions. Speakers and presenters include:Minister of Public Health Emil Lee, Mr. Hans Leijtens- Director General Recovery Windward Islands, Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations of the Netherlands, Ms. Gwendolien Mossel – Legal advisor Bureau Ombudsman.

The Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG) will be supporting Government with various recovery programs, as a result of post-Irma. The programs are designed to strengthen the country’s disaster preparedness plans and promote harmony in the labor market. One of the supported projects of the Ministry of VSA is focused on mediation. This week 20-30 civil servants are taking part in Mediation week, which will end with the congress on Friday June 1st. Persons interested in attending the congress can contact the Ministry of VSA to inquire on availability of spaces. At email:

“As we look at our community, we are resourced challenged and there is conflict in the market place. We simply hope that, rather than going to court, rather than entering protracted legal battles persons can find amicable solutions that is in the interest of all of players. Again, we thank the VNG for their support in this program and supporting our Government.” – Emil Lee, Minister of Public Health