Several announcements during the past week have bolstered the confidence of the DP faction in some of our vital organizations to bring about the collaboration that is so necessary to move our country forward.
The agreement between the SHTA and USM and the partnership created, bodes well for the future of our country. This is the only way lasting progress will be achieved where the empowerment of our people is concerned. If we want to penetrate the labor market with local and homegrown professionals, we need to give them the tools to do and become exactly that.
Businesses that invest in the development and growth of their workers will thrive and when businesses thrive, our economy offers more opportunities for more people.
This is in stark contrast to the heavy-handedness propagated in some circles of our government today.
Every opportunity that provides the potential for increase of our human capital and contributes to our human development should be wholeheartedly embraced.
What is however regretful is that our government itself remains mum on its stance regarding these vital institutions.
We know e.g that a tertiary education draft law is on its way to Parliament.
How does this draft law jive with the ( new) ambitions of the USM?
Does this law offer the flexibility to USM to pursue its objectives?
Similar comments can be made regarding the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC). It is long overdue that the stakeholders in our public health sector have sat together to address the financial woes of our hospital. This is a most welcomed initiative and none too soon.
Nevertheless, our hospital is plagued by some serious and immediate financial issues. Our hospital needs the envisaged urgent improvements like yesterday. Our professionals at the SMMC have for too long been asked to “make do, better times are ahead”.
Too many of our patients still need to be sent abroad at a growing cost, both to government and the patient who has to leave our shores.
We want to elevate SMMC to a regional hospital, but charity (proper and affordable health care) begins at home.
My urgent appeal to the government is therefore 2-fold:
1.Inform Parliament, USM and the general public what government’s stance is regarding the USM and what actions will/has government initiate(d) to help realize USM goals and plans.
2. What are government’s IMMEDIATE plans for the SMMC to turn things around at this institution and guarantee its survivability and sustainability?
Sarah Wescot-Williams, MP (DP)