PHILIPSBURG:--- Based on the recent appointment of Rafael Boasman as Minister of Justice, the Ministry has received concerns from the unions and media regarding the mediator position. Minister of Labor Emil Lee provided clarity on the situation at Wednesday’s press briefing.
Currently, the Ministry of VSA is in the process of establishing a pool of mediator, as opposed to a full-time mediator. The pool of mediators will be on-call and will operate on a case-by-case basis in line with ILO standards. Minister Lee eluded to 3 candidates who are slated to be appointed pending approval from the Governor.
“The idea of the pool gives us a set of people with different skills sets, experiences, and knowledge. When you have one mediator, if one of the parties has an issue with the mediator it doesn’t leave them any choices and may, in the end, hurt the mediation process. With the pool of mediators, you open the possibilities for parties who have a justified reason for not working with one of our mediators to have an alternative option. However, more importantly, each of the mediators has a different set skills. Therefore, depending on whatever the dispute may be, the right mediator can be selected for the case,” stated Minister Lee.
In addition, the Minister is exploring the possibility of bringing in mediation trainers to train more persons and possibly expand the pool. VSA is also looking at restructuring the mediation services through the establishment of an Independent Mediation Bureau. How it will function and be structured is something that is still being worked on, however, the main objective is to separate the mediator services from the Department of Labor.