Connor writes Jacobs about education spending, policies

PHILIPSBURG–Member Of Parliament (MP) Claret Connor has written to Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports (ECYS) Silveria Jacobs seeking answers to questions about spending in education related to the budget and the execution of education policies and regulations.

The letter, sent via Parliament Chairwoman Sarah Wescot-Williams, includes inquiries about the Minister who has been and is managing the close to NAf. 100 million Government annually budgets for education, culture, youth and sports foundations and associations through its subsidy policies. The queries were also made during the 2017 budget debate and were never addressed by the Minister, said Connor.

“In recent months, via the media, there have been controversies with school boards, unions and other organizations without any clear directives coming from Minister Jacobs. This does not bode well with those who rely on the Minister to execute her responsibilities in an unbiased and justifiable manner,” said Connor on Sunday.

The United People’s (UP) party MP said he has received a number of calls from educated and dedicated professionals “who are particularly disappointed in the nonchalant attitude of the Minister.”

Dealing specifically with the turbulent situation at the National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA), Connor said in 2015 when the NIPA board and management were having issues then MP Jacobs “rushed down to the institution to lend her support publicly for the welfare of the students and staff, now that the Minister is responsible for the very same institution with similar issues the honourable Minister opted to remain clear of the controversies.”

Connor said he wants to remind the Minster “that as a leader you have to be willing to deal with the pleasant and unpleasant situations that may occur from time to time. Some decisions are difficult, but as Government not taking a decision in these circumstances are often detrimental and catastrophic to a country.”

In the approved 2017 budget, the Minister allocated NAf. 2.9 million of the tax payers’ money to NIPA and she is “accountable to the people for how she chooses to handle the affairs of this and other institutions who receive government subsidies or who are licensed based on certain guidelines or laws within our society, whether in a public, semi-public or private manner,” Connor said.

“The Minister must provide the confidences to the public and private sectors that those associated with these institutions live up to the responsibilities entrusted to them; this is what true leadership is all about,” he added.

Connor said he looks forward to a reply from the Minister to the list of questions still unanswered, in addition to his personal concerns. “Our faction will be calling an urgent meeting of Parliament for Minister Jacobs and all relevant parties to explain to the public of St Maarten what has been transpiring at NIPA.”

Source: The Daily Herald