PHILIPSBURG–The Court of First Instance has forbidden government to prevent, in any way whatsoever, that Learning Unlimited LU) Schools Foundation offers and provides education for its students at its location in St. Maarten, exams included, as long as no administrative decision has been taken against LU based on which the law could be enforced.
To this verdict the Court attached penalties of NAf. 5,000 guilders for each violation, up to a maximum of 100,000 guilders.
The Judge decided this Friday afternoon in the injunction filed by LU after “with a big display of power” the police had ordered the school closed on Wednesday morning, during its first day of the new 2020/2021 school year.
LU had called upon the Court to allow the school to provide on-site education as long as no formal decision has been taken regarding the closure of schools, in particular the private schools in St. Maarten.
In his ruling, the Judge agreed with LU that a repetition of the events of August 12, 2020 should be avoided “and that the students should not be confronted with such events again.”
“According to the principle of legality applicable in the democratic constitutional state of St. Maarten, government measures that impinge on citizens and institutions must have their basis in law,” the Judge stated in his verdict.
In this case, the Court said, the minister of VSA did not have the authority to close the school with the assistance of members of the Police Force St. Maarten KPSM.
Furthermore, the Court ruled that the large-scale deployment of the police against small children and others was “disproportionate,” and also “failed to meet the requirement of subsidiarity.”
The Judge arrived at the conclusion that Country St. Maarten acted illegitimately, as its decision to close LU down lacked any legal basis. Until any legal decision has been taken, the Court said that LU has the power to open the doors of its school and to provide pupils with on-site education in a regular manner without government officials preventing or prohibiting this.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/judge-forbids-closure-of-learning-unlimited