PHILIPSBURG–“A great step in the right direction,” is how Workers Institute for Professional Advancement (WIFOL) President Theophilus Thompson described news that Finance Minister Richard Gibson’s dream of opening a law school in St. Maarten will become a reality as of September.
He believes the new law school will serve an important function in the country and said it should be mandatory for all MP hopefuls to take courses at the new institution.
“This is a great step by the Minister, especially because, for people who are running for position to be Members of Parliament and legislators, it should become compulsory by their parties that those persons follow a course or two or have some form of training in legislation or laws that pertain to legislation so that they can be more effective in terms of knowing how to make proposals to amend legislation,” Thompson said.
“That is something to applaud the Minister on, because it is relevant to our own political social development.”
Thompson has always been a proponent of education as well as training and retraining of workers, which led to WIFOL forming a training arm, Caribbean Institute for Social Education Foundation (CIFSEF), several years ago.
Thompson said on Thursday that while this is not the first time such an attempt has been made for a law school for the country, Gibson’s effort is commendable.
Classes for the law school will be held at University of St. Martin. Gibson had told reporters on Wednesday that there are sufficient funds to guarantee the continuity of the law school and enable it to function for at least four years. Once tuition fees are added, this will lead to the institution being able to continue for many more years. Persons involved were asked to keep the tuition fees as low as possible.
Efforts will be made to have instruction be in the English language as much as possible, but as St. Maarten is in the Dutch Kingdom and due to the legal structures and institutions in place and the laws being in Dutch, participants will eventually have to be proficient in written and oral Dutch.