Build the Schools

National Alliance councilman George Pantophlet said questions posed by Senator and National Alliance leader William Marlin on the matter of compulsory education during the central government meeting on the Budget 2009 brought a profound and moving response from the Minister of Education Omayra Leeflang on the issue. It confirms time and time again that the Democratic Party government is dragging its feet on this matter or they don’t know what to do. The Minister made it abundantly clear that monies were available based on an agreement signed on January 28, 2008 with the State Secretary of Kingdom Relations Ank Bijleveld- Schouten. She said and let me quote:" I don’t want a dime for myself" end of quote and made it clear that the monies agreed to in that agreement should go to St. Maarten and the BES islands. The Minister made it clear that they had given St. Maarten another year again to comply with the law. The Minister also mentioned an amount of Naf 600,000 for projects. She said if government needed help to work out certain projects that they are willing and able to assist. Her concern is that the Democratic Party is spending monies on consultants instead of building schools. According to the Minister based on figures that she has from St. Maarten approximately 600 undocumented children are attending school. The problem was not so much with the Secondary Schools but mainly primary. And that looking at this present situation, 25 classrooms will need to be built which would cost some 5 million guilders. Another response to questions posed to the Minister by the National alliance was the availability of sufficient and qualified teachers to which she said that if you need a special permit for teachers to teach but don’t have a diploma the law permits the Minister to give exoneration. Finally the Minister stated plainly that there are no illegal schools and that children should not be refused an education whether they are documented or not. According to the Minister of Education, funds are available. To the Democratic Party I say it is time to build schools.  

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