PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — MP Maurice Lake wants the caretaker Cabinet of Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs lives up to its promise and increase the subsidy for University of St. Martin (USM) in the country’s 2016 budget.
“It is time the UP-led Government stop playing politics with USM. One of my first priority goals within the UP-Governing Programme was to recognize and increase the subsidy for USM. The government needs to make this happen now,” said Lake.
“I don’t like the way the UP-led Government has been treating USM behind the scenes by not wanting to recognize them and increasing the full subsidy. I have written emails to the Leader of the UP Party and Government to no avail reminding them how disappointed I was. The late Dr. Wathey and Ambassador Ansary were the co-founders of the University and we need to recognize the University and increase its subsidy since it is only one per cent of the Education Budget which is one of the lowest subsidies given to a non-profit foundation.
“I have encouraged the University Board and Management to give a presentation to the Education Committee of Parliament in front of the Minister of Education, to recognize, and increase the subsidy for USM in which the Minister promised to do for the University to get a jump start with promoting USM abroad and working towards accreditation. USM was recognized by the former Executive Council of St. Maarten but they need an updated letter stating they are recognized by the Government of St. Maarten after 10 10 10.
“For some reason Government didn’t want to recognize the University like the former executive council, and had the Board and Management on hold for several months requesting several documents and change the MOU of a particular accredited University which I find ironic because the Minister of Education graduated from the University while the caretaker Minister of VROMI taught for years at the University.
“I told the Management of USM to let Government live up to their promise to recognize and increase the subsidy and stop being used for picture taking for political show. USM has produce some of the best professionals in every sector in St. Maarten and the Caribbean. The Board and Management need to step up to the plate and market USM and their alumni foundation success.
“I want to see the Caretaker Government live up to the former Minister of Education’s promise to increase the subsidy by 300.000 dollars instead of Naf.150.000 guilders in the draft budget 2016. I also would like to see Government donate the surrounding land by the Receiver’s Office to USM for the expansion plan of the University to build more classes and dormitories to attract more students from the neighbouring islands.
“It’s high time, we make USM the highest learning institution on the island and in the Caribbean. Then we can say education is our number one priority instead of using the University as a political stunt,” he said.