For years many young people that go abroad to further their studies has indicated that they will not be returning to St. Maarten upon their completion of their studies. This has been a torn in my side for I could not understand why anybody upon receiving a scholarship from their government would even think about not returning to serve their country.
Philipsburg, St. Maarten – Every year our government provides an opportunity for many of our young people with scholarships to be able to further their studies locally or abroad. The OSPP has stated on numerous occasions that we believe that the names of those students, as well as their pictures and the area of studies should be published. By having this policy it would place additional pressure on our students and their parents to succeed. It would also provide the general public with information about our students and their areas of studies; after all in most cases we are footing the bills as tax payers.
Our Honorable Prime Minister had stated in one of his first address to the nation in which he talked about the counterpart policy that will be introduced. One of the main reasons as was stated is to put our people back to work. My opinion has been and still is that the government has all the tools to determine who will work legally on the island. It is the government that issues work permits and therefore a counterpart policy would be counterproductive and it would hurt our economy. There should be a better working relationship between the Labor, Education and Justice Departments to better protect the job market for our people.
However, for years I have heard many young people indicating that they will not return to St. Maarten upon completing their studies. In my opinion I believed it had to do with them acquiring more experience, greater possibilities to move up the ladder and last but not the least better pays checks abroad. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. All indications are that many of them feel that when returning to St. Maarten and if they applied for a job they would be labeled overqualified or under qualified in their own country. Over qualified, because the employer already has someone in mind to hire and under qualified because of the rigorous requirements set forth by the employer.
But this brings us to a very important area, the appointment of ministers after the 2014 election. Each party that contested the 2014 election was allowed to carry 23 persons on the list. They placed the best qualified persons at the time on their list. What is very strange that after the election in 2014 all of the candidates on the UP list are either over or under qualified! We draw our conclusion based on the facts that only one candidate to date has been appointed in the Gumbs cabinet. All the other ministers were not on the list during the last election and there are two ministries still vacant at this moment. What does this tell us? It tells us that the UP leadership has no confidence in the other candidates regardless to their experience or educational back ground. Perhaps since it is the UP government and they are proposing the counterpart policy they should demonstrate to the public how this counterpart proposal will work. They should start by placing Iris Arrindell as a counterpart for Minister Hassink of Finance; Veronica Jansen as a counterpart for Prime Minister Gumbs of VRomi; Terry Peterson for Minister Dennis Richardson for Justice; Dr. Rhoda Arrindell as counterpart to Minister Rita Gumbs of Education; Jules James for Minister Richardson for Social Affairs & Labour; Gracita Arindell as counterpart for Prime Minister Gumbs. All of those candidates after four years should be qualified to govern the next time around or do they have to be part of the inner circle. It is no wonder many of our young people abroad are very skeptical about returning to St. Maarten after completing their studies. If the leadership of UP can do this to their fellow candidates what wouldn’t they do to them our future leaders who are not affiliated to the party.