THE HAGUE–The Cabinet of the St. Maarten Minister Plenipotentiary in the Hague on Tuesday evening hosted a successful first event in a series of debates and discussion evenings catering to students and young professionals to actively engage them in current developments and important topics about their island.
Close to 20 students and young professionals gathered in this first session of the “At the Cabinet After 5” to discuss the question whether to stay in the Netherlands or to go back to St. Maarten to work.
In her opening address, Minister Plenipotentiary Jorien Wuite emphasised that contributions from young professionals in the prime of their lives with a tertiary education are important and needed more than ever on St. Maarten. Wuite further stated that her Cabinet is focused on contributing to St. Maarten’s economic recovery by facilitating and encouraging remigration.
Law professional and president of the board of Unleashed Potential Group (UPG) Calvin Brooks and finance professional and treasurer of the board of United Sint Maarten Connection (USC) provided the introductory presentations on the topic “Will I stay, or will I go.”
Brooks stated that his intention was to stay in the Netherlands as he is in the process of becoming a lawyer and because he wants to keep assisting through UPG. Mead on the other hand stated his intention to return to St. Maarten. He did advise the audience to take a few years to further their personal, professional and financial development before returning to the island.
After these presentations, moderator Kelly Busby opened the discussion part by posing a number of questions to the audience, including: “What motivates or stops you from returning to St. Maarten? And how can you contribute actively if you choose to remain in the Netherlands?”
The students and young professionals alike clearly indicated they were very motivated to go back to dedicate their expertise to the island on different subjects varying from robotics to public safety and from health care to the penal system.
Some members of the audience made it clear that they have hesitations. Would they be regarded as cocky back home because of their field of expertise? Would they feel held back? Would their work be appreciated and make a difference on the island?
Some students and young professionals with entrepreneurial aspirations pointed out that although innovation should come from the private sector, government could facilitate innovation by enhancing the digitalisation and cutting red tape.
Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary Michael Somersall had a suggestion for the persons with entrepreneurial aspirations: “Find a way to be a problem solver, and you will always make it through working with your own niche and doing what you love best.”
Minister Plenipotentiary Wuite pointed out that doing internships on St. Maarten was a great way to present yourself and your expertise back home, while at the same time getting a feel of the local situation.
A member of the audience stressed the importance of increasing educational tourism, stating that St. Maarten’s role in the region should not be overlooked and that close attention should be given to the vocational sector. By catering to the educational needs of the English-speaking community on the island and by extension to those in the region, a niche can be created.
Moderator Busby used an old Chinese proverb to close off the evening: “Migration is not a one-directional process, it is a colossal process that has been happening in all directions for thousands of years.” She noted that history in its broadest aspect was a record of man’s migration from one environment to another. “Wherever you are, you can always contribute to St. Maarten, while at the same time choosing the path that is right for you as an individual.”
The entire event was streamed live on the Facebook page of the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary. The next ‘At the Cabinet After 5’ event is scheduled to take place on November 22.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/82202-st-maarteners-discuss-remigration-at-cabinet