Ser delegation connects with Dutch counterparts

POSTED: 05/29/12 1:07 PM

The delegation of Ser St. Maarten attends a meeting of the Ser Brabant in den Bosch; right of center from left to right; R. Richardson, G. Richardson, E. Gumbs-Vlaun, E. Henriquez-Dijkhoffz, A. Alberts. (Ser photo)

GREAT BAY – St. Maarten’s Socio-Economic Council (Ser) has made valuable contacts and gathered a wealth of information and inspiring ideas that they believe can be used here going forward. The information and contacts were made during a visit to the Netherlands by a delegation consisting of Ser Chairman Rene Richardson, independent member Elaine Gumbs-Vlaun, industry representative Eveline Henriquez-Dijkhoffz, supported by Secretary-General Gerard Richardson and senior policy advisor Arjen Alberts. The group also visited St. Maarten House.
The delegation was able to make agreements with the national social economic council on internships and other forms of cooperation and support during in-depth exchanges of information with directors of the council’s economic and social policy departments. There were also separate conversations with policy workers on specific topics relevant to St. Maarten’s socio-economic situation. President of the national social economic council Alexander Rinnooy Kan has expressed his interest in the workings of the ‘latest addition to the family of social economic councils in the Kingdom’ and presented the delegation with a vintage gavel used by one of the first Ser presidents in the 1950’s. The St. Maarten delegation then presented Rinnooy Kan and the Dutch Ser’s Secretary General Véronique Timmerhuis with a copy of Ser St. Maarten’s first annual report.
The delegation also visited a number of regional social economic councils in the Netherlands that operate on a scale more similar to St. Maarten. In a meeting with the Ser Delft the St. Maarten representatives were briefed on a successful tradition of cooperation between labor unions, businesses and government on tackling local issues and jointly mapping out strategies for economic development, especially in challenging economic times. During the meeting with the Ser Zeeland parties exchanged important information about the local cooperative approach of the development of the sea harbors in the region, as well as the tourism sector and the logistical hub function of this province. Zeeland is important for the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. The St. Maarten delegation was also able to attend a meeting of the Ser Brabant in ‘s Hertogenbosch and to get a briefing tripartite efforts to secure high levels of employment, to hear detailed information on Brabant’s long term economic development plan ‘Brabant 2020’ and make agreements on future cooperation.
The costs of the Ser St. Maarten visit to the Netherlands were covered by Dutch development funds managed by Usona and fall under the project ‘Establishment of the High Councils of State’.

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