From left: Ministers Jurendy Doran, Christopher Wever, Silveria Jacobs, Ardwell Irion and Rene Violenus.
~ Pledge to put youth first ~
PHILIPSBURG–The recently-sworn-in Council of Ministers cancelled an event to celebrate their swearing-in and went straight into work meetings for the entire afternoon Tuesday.
Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs said even with their computers not yet hooked up and without the tools needed, the ministers have been attending meetings and working.
“We have hit the ground running,” Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications Minister Rene Violenus and Finance Minister/Acting Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) Ardwell Irion told reporters at the Council’s first press briefing on Wednesday.
Irion said that in the short term during the interim period, government will be looking at solutions to collecting government receivables, updating government systems and coming with solutions for issues such as Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA).
Violenus spoke about meetings the Council had on Tuesday and those that had been planned for Wednesday. The ministers plan to hold meetings with their respective ministries to introduce themselves to staffers and be updated on what is happening, amongst other things.
Jacobs said government intends to use its interim period of governing to “change the tide of negativity. It is a new day with new hope and very strong abled beginning.”
The coalition partners have “a vision towards stability” and are working to create an interim governing programme for this period. “Even though it’s a short period we must have a vision board,” Jacobs said. She stressed that government will focus on and carry out the issues mentioned by Governor Eugene Holiday.
She said also that when she had been a Member of Parliament (MP) before government fell, she had been working on a budget amendment that would see about NAf. 1 million in funds earmarked for consultants redirected towards the youth of St. Maarten.
“What a great day being to announce this, as today is International Day for the Rights of Children,” she noted adding that laws are in place to protect children and the country is ready to protect children, but there are “very big gaps” and “holes” in executing the rights of children. “We need to focus in this short period on what is lacking.”
Jacobs said she had personally witnessed and heard of “horror stories” of children being out of school, lacking guidance and having serious social and emotional problems that cannot be addressed on a day-to-day basis in schools. This is why it is important to spend the funds on children, as without strong protection of children St. Maarten will have no future, she added.
“Today, with this … very youthful Council of Ministers, I pledge to put the youth first,” Jacobs said.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/92642-new-council-of-ministers-hits-the-ground-running