Louis Mussington. (Robert Luckockphoto)
MARIGOT–Opposition Councillor Louis Mussington says he is very pleased with French Labour Minister Muriel Pénicaud’s recent announcement to create an apprentice training centre in St. Martin during a meeting in Hotel de la Collectivité with representatives from various training institutions.
“She clearly outlined her desire to have a master plan for professional training in St. Martin,” he said. “We need to profit from the expected slow pace of the reconstruction effort to prepare our young people via these training courses, so they can be in line for jobs in construction. It’s welcome news and the training institutes were very interested given the number of workers out of a job now. We need to be vigilant that the commitments made on Saturday are followed up with action in the months to come.”
Returning to the last Territorial Council meeting, Mussington also said he was very happy with the unanimous vote to have bilingual education in St. Martin, something that he has always advocated for St. Martin.
“It’s finally an opportunity to teach the children in English and French. And English will not only be a subject but a language of instruction as well. I’ve always said we are losing our young people because of the language barrier. On numerous occasions I’ve been to the Education Ministry to highlight its importance. There are two articles in the organic law referring to it and that’s due to my efforts to say this is the way to go about it. And I’m very encouraged by Vice-President Annick Petrus in charge of education to take this battle to the end. She has my full support.”
He noted there’s a meeting in January 2018 with the Ministry of Education to discuss the issue of recruitment of bilingual St. Martiners to become teachers.
On another point he noted there are four schools, two in Grand Case and two in Sandy Ground, that were not too badly damaged in the hurricanes and he questioned why they could not be urgently repaired so they can accommodate pupils who will be coming back home from Guadeloupe or Martinique.
“If that repair work isn’t done there won’t be enough classrooms available when school restarts in January. And it conflicts with the hours of the Rhythm Scolaire.”
At the Territorial Council meeting Mussington also drew President Gibbs’s attention to the Fire Department situation in St. Martin.
“It’s an unacceptable one because it concerns security of persons and property. The Fire Station is supposed to operate with no less than 12 firemen on shift. But there are times when the shift has far less than that. It’s irresponsible. Whether it’s a fire occurring at the same time as an accident on the road, you need to have an adequate number of firemen available. They are taking too long to get to the emergency because of being short-staffed. I also drew the Prefete’s attention to the matter seeing that we are going into the festive season.”
He added its time for St. Martin to take back the running of the Fire Department locally, and not by Guadeloupe.
“We are paying 2.6-million euros annually to the headquarters in Basse Terre, Guadeloupe, and we are not seeing the results for the money that we are paying via the management contract. It’s an opportunity for young St. Martiners to train to become professional firemen.”
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/72162-mussington-pleased-with-proposal-for-training-centre