Philipsburg, St. Maarten —In an urgent Public meeting of Parliament requested since August 21, 2018, and convened only today Friday, September 14, 2018, certain inconsistencies pertaining to the Rules of a Order were brought forward by the opposition and swept aside by the President of Parliament. A presentation was made by the Minister ECYS, which appears to have incorrect information concerning unqualified teaching staff at particularly the Sr. Regina School, one of the subsidized Catholic Schools on St. Maarten.
Based on a letter to parents via their FB page at 9.25 pm tonight, the management of the Sr. Regina school has publicly stated that this information is incorrect and that the Ministry has been notified.
This leaves many questions in the minds of members of parliament, who called this meeting. Despite attempts to delay the meeting which is considered urgent, as was continuously echoed by those even supporting the coalition today, it appears that Parliament was mislead by the information presented by Minister Smith.
Even as SMCP Member of Parliament tried to throw blame on his colleague, NA MP Jacobs, for starting schools too early after the storm, he neglected to mention that he had been responsible for publishing a confidential report on the assessment of teachers done directly after the storm in the first few days and formed part of of the soft opening of schools. Nor did he acknowledge knowing that the entire process was in collaboration with SSSD and the Psychologists and Social Workers association together with UNICEF representatives.
These entities all came together to come with a plan of action to meet the psycho social needs of teachers, students and families in the short and long term. The return to school was seen by all entities including Red Cross, UNICEF and other international organizations as a good idea to bring normalcy back to the island.
The information presented by MinECYS also placed a lot of emphasis on teacher burnout without referencing exact numbers, giving further impressions of gloom and doom and further showing the need for this urgent meeting, which remains unfinished and is adjourned until further notice – which will again only be reconvened on the whim of the chair of Parliament. As representatives of the people, we will await this, however not patiently, as rectification of incorrect information must be made with immediate effect.