Editorial: A huge gift

POSTED: 11/14/11 3:58 AM

Minister Plenipotentiary Mathias Voges handed the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport and the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor a huge gift on St. Maarten’s Day. Because next to giving St. Maarteners in the Netherlands and further afield in Europe a chance to come together in the Soualiga Foundation, he’s created an organization that can serve as registry of where the country’s students and professionals are, what fields of employment they are currently in and how skills they’ve gained while away can be used to this country’s advantage.

Yes, one does not join a foundation to be tracked, but if that can become a means to do it, then why not. One consideration for the ministry of education is that it will give them a way to track study financing recipients once they exit the St. Maarten Student Support Services System. That will allow for St. Maarten to be as effective as IBG-DUO in collecting the loan part of the study financing. There’s never been an absolute figure on the amount outstanding, but if the country has a chance to continue reminding these graduates or even drop outs of their commitment, then so be it.

Also this intiative again provides government and the local businesses a chance at free advertising in a source market filled with “our people.” Yes we must seek the source markets where there are visitors, but we must also seek the source markets where we get qualified labor that is from here, understands here and is ready to live here, even when the time gets rough.

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