Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor

The objective of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (VSA) is to represent the internal interests of the country in the fields of public health, health care, social development and labor.

Download the programm of Public Health, Social Development and Labor

New: Presentation Parliament Year Plan 2017 of Public Health, Social Development and Labor

Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor
Emil Lee E-mail cabinet +1721 5202767
"The next four years remain dedicated to creating an environment for each member of our society to prosper, feel empowered and have a better quality of life; one in which there is access to affordable quality health care and opportunities for vibrant employment, with adequate safety nets for the vulnerable groups"

Promote integrity and transparency

Initiative Project
Strengthen provisions and access to information by the public
  • Maintain weekly press briefings
Review and strengthen relations with government owned companies, foundations and ZBO's
  • Promote and monitor improvement of operations efficiency and transparency
  • Review the legislative framework that governs the Corporate Governance Council and Corporate Governance Code
  • Review the articles of incorporation

Develop and provide the highest quality education system and training

Initiative Project
Establish tertiary and professional education as a vital pillar to Sint Maarten's economy
  • Enhance collaboration with medical schools on Sint Maarten
Stimulate life-long learning
  • Collaborate with regional International Labor Organization to offer local training

Provide responsive public services

Initiative Project
Improve efficiency and effectiveness
  • Reduce bureaucracy and publish standardized procedures
  • Ensure inter-ministerial collaboration, tripartite processes, and consultations with key stakeholders and the public

Respect cultural and art resources

Initiative Project
Foster understanding, pride, appreciation and respect for our natural and cultural heritage
  • Establish an independent Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Review Council

Upgrade government operations

Initiative Project
Strengthen strategic planning and develop monitoring and evaluation frameworks
  • Ensure that each ministry creates plans as extrapolated from the multi-annual budget in conformity with a standard format
  • Ensure each ministry has a research agenda and monitoring and evaluation framework attached

Nurture inclusion

Initiative Project
Develop closer ties with Saint Martin
  • Address existing cross border issues
Ensure the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Focus on the remaining targets and objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Review and execute the recommendations made by relevant government commissioned work groups
Strengthening community development
  • Protect family structures
  • Continue with the implementation of an integrated neighborhood development policy
  • Review the Community Help Desk program
  • Encourage establishment of and provide support to Community Councils in all districts
  • Utilize existing public facilities such as schools in neighborhoods for community center purposes
  • Partner with public and private sector to facilitate programs for our youth, family activities and parenting

Improve tax office, fiscal policy and compliance

Initiative Project
Improve compliance
  • Further collaborate among the existing control units to pool resources

Secure a balanced budget and responsible spending

Initiative Project
Continue to seek efficiency in government and strengthen enforcement of policies
  • Review the possibilities to increase the pension age for civil servants from 62 - 65
Introduce, review and enforce the collection of fees and debts
  • Assess and increase all monetary sanctions

Implement ordinances and policies to address safety

Initiative Project
Finalize and implement legislation and policies in the Social Development sector
  • Evaluate laws addressing abuse of women, children and the vulnerable
Improve health safety
  • Draft policy to regulate septic and water trucks

Improve the efficiency, effectiveness and quality in the justice chain

Initiative Project
Tackle illegal immigration and human smuggling and trafficking
  • Address and finalize the adult entertainment legislation and policy
  • Strengthen cooperation between Customs, Immigration & Border Control, Judicial Care Services, Education and Public Health departments

Strengthen safety and security

Initiative Project
Promote and protect the rights of the child
  • Establish a central reporting center for child abuse as well as reporting codes and investigation approaches
  • Create a culture of intolerance against child abuse by breaking the Code of Silence through public awareness and training
Mitigate crime and improve safety in the community
  • Support Neighborhood Watch and other programs
Reduce youth crime
  • Intensify efforts with Community Police Officers to prevent crime amongst youth through crime prevention programs
  • Offer opportunities for Second Chance education
Ensure a safe and positive learning environment for all students
  • Review and enforce safety regulations at school premises

Regulate socio-economic and environmental sustainability

Initiative Project
Finalize amendments of Book 7 Title 10 Civil code
  • Review and ensure the end of the abuse of short-term labor agreement
  • Identify seasonal functions to ensure non-seasonal functions do not qualify for short term contracts
  • Ensure employees' benefits are transferred in case of company buy-overs and mergers
  • Finalize increase of maternity leave and implement paternity leave
Facilitate flexibility in the Labor law
  • Finalize the major labor reform plan agreed upon by Labor Tripartite and draft action plan
  • Adapt the Dismissal law
  • Review the possibilities of modernizing the Cessantia system and other unemployment benefits
  • Promote awareness regarding compliance and ensure effective control
  • Make the work permit procedures more transparent and efficient
Develop reliable labor statistics to produce evidence-based policies
Implement and enforce necessary legislation and policies in Environment
  • Finalize the legislation for joint authority to address health safety issues and environmental concerns
  • Establish minimum socio-economic and environmental criteria for new projects

Stimulate economic growth and development

Initiative Project
Stimulate agricultural initiatives
  • Expand the Home Gardening program for a healthy and affordable lifestyle

Fortify and diversify the tourism sector

Initiative Project
Strengthen the tourism product
  • Identify and promote niche markets e.g. cultural- & eco-tourism, medical tourism, voluntourism and entertainment tourism

Invest in human capital

Initiative Project
Ensure that education is in tune with the employment and sustainable needs of our society
  • Maintain an online database of workers, professionals and students locally as well as living and/or studying abroad to link with our employers
  • Strengthen the NIPA program
  • Establish a comprehensive training and employment support strategy
  • Conduct ongoing assessments of the labor market and training needs in collaboration with Education and Economic departments
Support employment opportunities
  • Provide tax incentives for businesses willing to hire and train the registered unemployed
  • Implement a mentorship or apprenticeship program for young professionals/pre-graduates whereby they are trained to fill relevant positions on Sint Maarten
  • Promote the hiring of locals and stimulate upward mobility in the labor force
Facilitate and stimulate the creation of a skilled labor force
  • Provide beginner, intermediate and advanced skills training in order to create long-term decent paying jobs
  • Provide opportunities for continuing education to train and re-educate the labor market in cooperation with employers
  • Draft an industry standard certification policy in collaboration with stakeholders for all service industry
  • Support the upgrading of medical professionals and staff as well as service delivery through collaboration with institutions on the island and in the region
Strengthen the tripartite consultation process between labor unions, employers and government

Enhance infrastructure management

Initiative Project
Improve quality of telecommunication
  • Facilitate high speed Internet for medical institutions and schools

Preservation of natural resources

Initiative Project
Ensure responsible management of the environment
  • Commission a Task Force to address the impact on climate change

Enact legislation and policies to improve quality of life

Initiative Project
Implement and enforce legislation and policies in the Public Health sector
  • Develop a national Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Prevention Plan
  • Draft policy on breast feeding options for working mothers
  • Finalize the policy to regulate medical tourism
  • Regulate the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes
Implement legislation and policies to ensure quality in healthcare and universal medical coverage
  • Implement policies to ensure mandatory medical coverage for all residents of Sint Maarten (National Health Insurance Plan)
  • Develop a standard of care policy to secure the medical coverage of high frequency patients
  • Assess quality through regular inspections
  • Create accountability policy for medical practitioners
  • Draft policy that requires medical practitioners to keep up to date on latest procedures and research through training, education and seminars
  • Implement a registration system for medical practitioners
Enhance pension benefits
  • Ensure mandatory pension in the private sector
  • Realize pension benefits "transfer" in consultation with the stakeholders
  • Review the possibilities to realize a tax-free pension for pension recipients
  • Review the possibilities to increase or restructure pension plans
Implement legislation, policies and improve data collection for youth
  • Finalize legislation for the Youth Employment Fund
  • Finalize Early Childhood Development (ECD) legislation and policy
Regulate, manage and ensure the well-being of the island's animal population and animal husbandry
  • Establish control mechanism to regulate livestock food safety

Improve health care system

Initiative Project
Transition St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) to a General Hospital
  • Develop a General Hospital
  • Finalize the new tariff structure
  • Promote and monitor the active recruitment of local medical professionals currently residing/working in other countries
  • Expand cooperation between the health care institutions on Sint Maarten and the Caribbean
Assure accessible, affordable and sustainable quality healthcare
  • Monitor sound financial management in the public health sector
  • Assist with reducing medical referrals by providing more services on the Island
  • Invest in state-of-the-art equipment which caters to patients of Sint Maarten and surrounding islands
  • Automate and upgrade healthcare data collection to be able to address healthcare needs
  • Promote medical tourism initiatives and infrastructure to cater to the local population and the global medical tourism market
  • Provide more access to safe Reproductive Health Services and Family Planning
Strengthen mental health services and facilities
  • Finalize a National Mental Health Plan for Sint Maarten
  • Develop policy and facilities for the treatment of detainees with psychiatric challenges and their institutionalization
  • Increase funding for mental health facilities, drug abuse facilities and outpatient services
  • Expand mental health facilities
Enhance operations of emergency medical response services

Strengthen youth opportunities

Initiative Project
Enhance youth involvement and development
  • Promote Youth Entrepreneurship, Volunteerism and Ambassadorship programs
  • Finalize Integrated Youth Framework to strengthen coordination amongst government stakeholders
Execute extracurricular activities for youth
  • Review and advise on the Healthy Lifestyle School Program
Tackle & decrease youth unemployment
  • Assess the root causes of youth unemployment
  • Execute Youth Employment Programs such as establishing the Youth Employment Fund Project

Promote sports and wellness within communities

Initiative Project
Enhance competitive and recreational sports
  • Foster physical fitness, sport and health awareness programs for the general public
Stimulate healthy living and well-being of all residents
  • Build and promote good personal and public-health habits through public education awareness programs, education, prevention, protection and care
  • Partner with local social development organizations to assist in curing social ills and enhancing life experiences
  • Promote the overall health of the society to reduce and prevent the high incidences of cancer, diabetes, hypertension and other preventable diseases
Stimulate healthy eating
  • Implement programs that address nutritional, hygiene and health standards in keeping with international regulations
  • Implement incentives to stimulate healthy eating and living
  • Propose tax on tobacco and alcohol
  • Propose a tax on certain sugar products in collaboration with stakeholders

Care for the elderly and vulnerable

Initiative Project
Alleviate poverty
  • Conduct a study to transition from a minimum wage to a living wage
  • Finalize the assessment of the poverty line
  • Provide GEBE social relief to citizens in need
  • Research and propose food, amenity and transportation discounts
  • Facilitate reduced tariffs for phone and Internet for those in need
  • Expand the products included in the Basket of Goods including healthy food items
Ensure sustainable living
  • Review and plan the implementation of the elderly research reports
  • Upgrade living conditions for the vulnerable and elderly through public private partnership
  • Simplify procedures to improve responsiveness to those in need
  • Stimulate training, life skills and support to recipients of social aid and housing
  • Finalize the elderly housing repair grant program
Enhance the delivery of services to the elderly from government
  • Assess, support and promote awareness of existing elderly programs
  • Strengthen collaboration with stakeholders for elderly protection and care
  • Explore the possibilities to create a division to focus on delivery of elderly care
  • Establish a Council for the elderly

Ensure livable neighborhoods

Initiative Project
Further develop our neighborhoods
  • Continue the district cleanliness and beautification project
  • Intensify inspection and enforcement of adherence to existing sewage, running water and garbage disposal policies and ordinances
  • Develop a public private partnership between the housing foundation and land owners to address and upgrade neighborhoods that are not in compliance with the Building Ordinance