PHILIPSBURG:— Aristotle said: “the only way to avoid criticism is to say nothing, do nothing and be nothing.” When some members of the DP criticize the counterpart law and policy without reviewing the implementation guidelines then they are too quick to criticize and assume that it “is a sure recipe for massive lay-offs. ” This once again proves that they were not in support of my vision to provide the much needed opportunity of our youth to take on top positions in our community. The success of any law and/or policy is how it is implemented. Hence the saying: “the proof is in the pudding.” It must be understood that the counterpart law and policy was not designed to be used in every situation. During my tenure as Minister of Labor, I signed more MOUs with businesses and formed more partnerships than ever before in the history of St. Maarten. The Employability Through Training Program was just one initiative among many to decrease the unemployment and address the gaps between school and work and on-the-block and/or out-of-school and work. The counterpart issue cannot be seen in isolation since it is only a small part of the overall plan to getting our people hired and to stay employed once the worker applies themselves The fact that some members of the DP criticize me is ok because it reminds me that all I can do is my best, speak the truth, work as I told the voters I would continue to do and surrender the rest. Their criticism is a supreme compliment to me and I will not give up. I will continue to pursue opportunities for our students, our experienced or inexperienced graduates who deserve a fair chance to be employed and showcase themselves. Aruba asked for Arubians to return home when they received separate status. What did St. Maarten do? I believe we cannot build St. Maarten without them- Government should not be the only one employing our people, our students and our graduates. The private sector has an equal role to play instead of requesting work permits when we have equally qualified people. Government cannot afford to continue sending our students away and not expect a return on our investment. Why have these students come back home to live in their parent’s house with a diploma and no job? This will only cause frustration and may lead to an exodus of them leaving and for some never to return. The counterpart principle is used for notaries and lawyers, “pairing” is being used by our police force and their Dutch colleagues. We can call it apprentice programs but call a spade a spade. The civil servant who have helped work on the counterpart policy are also a believer that this is a great initiative which compliment the most recent initiative by the Department of Labor Affairs “Start Here” and the inter-ministerial project “Brain Gain”. I do hope that the new coalition and incoming Minister for Labor respects the will of the people and takes the time out to read the implementation guidelines to ensure that the counterpart policy and legislation is enforced.
Source: St. Martin News Network Democratic Party does not support local employment — says MP Cornelius de Weever.