Press Statement by Minister Rhoda Arrindell during the Council of Ministers Press Briefing

Press Statement by Hon. Minister of Education, Culture, Sports & Youth Affairs, Rhoda Arrindell during the Council of Ministers Press Briefing on

Wednesday, January 19, 2011. 

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Madame Prime Minister,

Colleagues in the Council of Ministers,

Members of the Media,

Residents of our beloved St. Martin,

Good Morning.

I guess it is still not too late to wish each and every one of you a very Happy, Healthy, Prosperous and Successful New Year!

As you are already aware, I returned just last week from my first official visit to the United States where I held discussions with a number of institutions and met with St. Martin students with whom I had a frank exchange of ideas. I was accompanied on that trip by my Policy Advisor, Mr. Calvin Mardembrough. I have already briefed you on the outcome of this visit. We are busy right now following up on a number of issues arising from the trip.

I am also certain that by now you already know about the ongoing public information campaign on the Compulsory Education Law which was launched at the Rupert I. Maynard Community Center in St. Peters last week. Yesterday, the information campaign took us to Colebay. The campaign will continue until the end of February and will be held in every district under the theme: Compulsory Education: It’s not a choice: it’s the law! The idea is to explain what the law entails and to engage the people of each district in a frank and open discussion. I must say so far, the dialogue has been yielding some very interesting results, with workable ideas coming from the participants themselves.

Work is also ongoing regarding the "Get off the block, Get on the Bus, Get Busy" pilot project targeting our youth who may be unemployed, out of school, and just waiting for the opportunity to get back on track and become productive, self-sustaining, and positive contributors to society. This project will begin in February and last until June, after which we will evaluate the results and determine the way forward.

Similarly, we are currently preparing our retreat for all staff of the Ministry which will be held on

January 28th. The purpose of this retreat is to lay down and fine tune our vision and mission as a new Ministry, and have everyone on the same page so to speak as we build a service-oriented Ministry that will be responsive to the needs of the public.

In conclusion, let me welcome our Cultural Ambassador, Nicole de Weever back home for a well-deserved R&R. Nicole, as you may know, performed at the BET Awards ceremony last Saturday, honoring super model Iman, actor Jamie Fox, and other stars. Nicole has been a featured dancer in the Tony-Award winning Broadway musical, FELA!

As usual, I look forward to answering whatever questions you may have for me.

I thank you.