Today’s editorial: Let’s have the dialogue

POSTED: 01/31/11 12:00 PM

Leaders of three unions campaigned on radio on Sunday for the return of social dialogue on St. Maarten. This newspaper wholeheartedly agrees for several reasons with the principal one being something we’ve said before: The best way to solve problems is to communicate. The moment parties are no longer sharing their thoughts and trying to find a way to solve problems, the issue is the winner, and the parties lose.
We also wholeheartedly agree, because it gives each party in the tri-partite engagement, a chance to get out of their own domain and realize how their choices affect the other facets of society. For example if the government raises a tax, the businesses can show how that will impact investment potential and the unions can point out how it will affect worker’s ability to provide for themselves and their families. It should never turn into a two against one kind of thing. It should be more a place of open sharing.
We also wholeheartedly agree because it will re-enforce the sense of partnership that is the very spirit of our nation St. Maarten. In 1995 we partnered in rebuilding the island after Hurricane Luis. In 1999, we partnered to clean after Lenny. In 2000 we partnered and voted to become a country within the Kingdom and as of 10-10-10 we all became partners in building not just the nation, but the country. Part of that is making sure people have decent work for decent pay, businesses get a fair profit and government nets enough to take care of its people.
With our nation seemingly seeing some light at the end of the tunnel of two major disagreements between the partners in the tri-partite setting – Pelican and the actions by the civil servants and teachers, it may be time to really put some effort into finalizing a body like the Socio-Economic Council (SER), so parties can together pro-actively tackle issues affecting the island’s labor market. We believe that the opportunity is there to achieve some great things and as always we expect us all to go for it.

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