Opinion by Elco Rosario: Left behind (study financing)

POSTED: 08/18/14 5:11 PM

 

Juliy would have loved so much to be on the students’ plane that left Sint Maarten on August 3. Not only because of the study financing had she requested from her government to help her among others with the ticket to go to Holland. Also for being so proud to travel with so many of her friends on that plane as the “black Sint Maarten Chinese” she had called herself since she was 12, born and raised  here and now with Dutch nationality; to be on that plane and later to return to help her country.

She was so grateful of belonging here and showed that every day by actively participating in all activities in and outside the school premises, always being the first to arrive and the last to leave and so, for example, had become like the right hand of Arlene Halley at events of the Motiance Dance Theater.

When she was informed that her request for financing had been rejected by the Minister of Education because “her chosen study is not considered a priority at this time,” she was at first very disappointed. However, as the eternal optimist, she was not desperate because she had documented herself very well regarding the terms and conditions for the financing and was convinced that by appealing the decision and showing the Minister her arguments, the decision would be turned into a positive one.

As the future lawyer she wanted to become, she went well prepared to the appeal hearing on July 19.

Mr. Baly, the president of the appeal committee opened the meeting and asked her to explain in her own words why she had made the appeal. She declared that government should adhere to the so-called principles of proper administration that apply to decisions regarding requests like for study financing and that, because of serious violations of such principles (she mentioned 6 of them), in her opinion the negative decision of the minister should be replaced by a positive one.

Thereupon Mr. Baly requested Mr. Aventurin, the representative of the advice committee why its recommendation to the Minister on Juliy’s request had been negative and to address Juliy’s appeal.

Without dedicating a single word to Juliy’s allegations of violation of the principles of the government’s behavior, Mr. Aventurin limited himself to saying that Juliy had not met the terms and conditions for applying for study financing as the study of her choice, international laws, did not appear on the priority list of the department of education.

He however refused to show said List or read its text even after being asked

two to three times to do so.

Mr. Baly then asked Juliy to give her final words. She declared that she did not agree with Mr. Aventurin on the point of the priority list. Besides that, in her opinion, the minister had violated the principle of equality by not granting her the study financing, while one or more students whose study of choice also did not appear on the priority list did get their study financing.

One week after the hearing Juliy talked to a student who had her appeal hearing after Juliy’s and whose appeal had been honored by the minister. Therefore she was permitted to leave on the students’ plane.

Juliy waited a couple of days and then started asking the Minister by mail to inform her whether her appeal had been honored as well. In case it had not, she would have had to immediately go get tickets for her and her mother to leave to Holland as she immediately had to go find a hotel and after that an apartment, register in Den Haag, the city of her study.

She sent her last mail request on Friday August 1, two days before departure of the students’ plane.

Meanwhile she has been 11 days in Holland experiencing a lot of anxiety and trouble and incurring a lot of expenses which would not have been necessary if she had obtained the requested financing.

Up to this day she has not been given the honor of receiving an answer from the minister.

There is, however still time for government to correct this very serious injustice to this young, very dedicated Sint Maartener. Her study of choice, international law, is one of the most important new areas of government care that Sint Maarten has assumed since obtaining its country status in 2010. Regarding this study, no local student has yet returned from abroad to assist the government.

 

Elco Rosario,

Juliy’s godfather

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