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SER Sint Maarten visits Dutch counterparts.

sersxmdelegationattendsmeetingofserbrabant30052012President of the Dutch social economic council, Alexander Rinnooy Kan, hosted a delegation of five visitors from SER Sint Maarten on Monday March 21. The SER president expressed great interest in the workings of the 'latest addition to the family of social economic councils in the Kingdom', as he put it. In a symbolic gesture, Rinnooy Kan presented the Sint Maarten SER with a vintage gavel used by one of the first SER presidents in the 1950's. Rinnooy Kan and secretary general Véronique Timmerhuis received SER Sint Maarten's first annual report from chairman René Richardson.
In addition to the chairman, the Sint Maarten the delegation consisted of independent member Elaine Gumbs-Vlaun, industry representative Eveline Henriquez-Dijkhoffz, supported by secretary-general Gerard Richardson and senior policy advisor Arjen Alberts.
The visit to the national Dutch SER continued with in-depth exchanges of information with directors of the council's economic and social policy departments, as well as separate conversations with policy workers on specific topics relevant to Sint Maarten socio-economic situation. Practical agreements were made on internships and other forms of cooperation and support.
To finalize the first day, the delegation paid a courtesy visit to the nearby cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary, were they were welcomed by outgoing deputy Minister Richard Panneflek and staff members Cor James and Perry Geerlings.
Later the same week, the delegation visited a number of regional social economic councils in the Netherlands, who operate on a scale more similar to Sint Maarten. In a meeting with the SER Delft the Sint 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.
dutchserchairmanarinnooykanrecievessersxmannualreportfromrrichardson30052012The first provincial SER visited was that of coastal province Zeeland. Important information was exchanged 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, not just towards the Netherlands but equally towards Belgium and Germany. Needless to say, these topics met with great interest from the Sint Maarten delegation, as these sectors are the mainstay of our national economy as well.
The concluding visit was to the SER Brabant in 's Hertogenbosch on Thursday May 24, where the timing of the visit permitted the delegation to attend an actual SER meeting. The delegation was subsequently briefed on the tripartite efforts to secure high levels of employment in this province, especially in times of decline of the traditional industrial sectors. The Sint Maarten delegation took notice of the fact that Brabant established its own long term economic development plan 'Brabant 2020'. In den Bosch as well, agreements were made on future cooperation between both social economic councils.
Over the entire week, the SER Sint Maarten succeeded in establishing a valuable network of contacts and cooperation with several Dutch sister organizations, while taking away a wealth of information and a number of inspiring ideas for future application in Sint Maarten.
The costs of the SER Sint Maarten visit to the Netherlands were covered by Dutch development funds from the project 'Establishment of the High Councils of State', managed by USONA.
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