PHILIPSBURG–Labour Minister Rafael Boasman set out to explain the controversial counterpart policy on Wednesday.
He told reporters at the Council of Ministers press briefing that the intention was to introduce the policy as a pilot project for one year, after which it would be evaluated. The evaluation would determine whether the policy was effective or ineffective and whether it would be maintained, adjusted or scrapped. He said too that the objective was not to apply the policy across the board to everyone.
“What is wrong with that?” Boasman asked. “Give a pilot a chance for one year if we profess to be in favour of the returning students or locals here who want internal mobility.”
He said the policy would be implemented only in cases involving possibility for upward mobility of locals in companies such as casinos and in cases where returning students could build experience.
Boasman said many locals worked in casinos, for example, and made it up to the position of Pit Boss, but never Casino Manager. The Counterpart Policy can be applied in these cases, allowing a local person to be placed to work alongside a casino manager who is brought in, for the local person to gain the necessary experience to eventually occupy the post.
“How will you get the experience if you don’t get a chance,” he asked. The policy also may be applied in cases of returning students who need to gain experience.
Boasman said too that this had been in existence since 2008, but never had been implemented. On one occasion it was implemented and the party involved took Government to court and won the case on the grounds that while the issue was mentioned in the law there was no policy stating how it was to be executed.
The lack of policy meant that it could have been used at the discretion of the Department of Labour Affairs and this was not acceptable, the verdict maintained. The Department had put a plan in place on how to execute the policy and this was sent to the Social Economic Council SER, which was highly critical of it and rendered a negative advice.
The then-Labour Minister requested that the Department assess what could be done to “correct” the policy. Boasman was head of the department at the time. He said the Department had looked at the court verdict, the SER advice and the law, and a framework of the policy had been prepared addressing issues such as to whom it should apply and how it should be executed. This document was approved by the Council of Ministers and published in the National Gazette earlier this year.
Source: The Daily Herald Boasman: Intention was to introduce counterpart policy as pilot for a year