Opinion: Navassa

POSTED: 08/17/11 11:34 AM

Currently there are no schools on Navassa and the possibility to receive study financing for studying on the island is theoretical, education Minister Marja van Bijsterveldt wrote in answers to questions by Socialist Party MP Ronald van Raak.
The latter quizzed the Minister in July when he read in the study financing regulation for the BES-islands that students from Bonaire, Saba and Statia qualified for financial support for following a study on Navassa.
Navassa is an uninhabited tiny island, a bit more than five square kilometers in size and located 170 kilometers south of the American Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba. Almost 150 years ago the American government started mining the island for guano – the feces of seabirds and seals. Guano is an odorless natural fertilizer, rich in phosphor and nitrogen. It is also a rich source of nitrates for the production of gun powder.
The Navassa Phosphate Company of Baltimore housed 140 black contract laborers on the island and started mining guano in 1865. The company built barracks for the laborers, houses for white supervisors, a warehouse and a church on the island – but no school.
Navassa is listed in an exhaustive list of countries and territories in the Caribbean in the study financing regulation. “For completeness,” the minister wrote, where the correct answer should have read something like: “We’re idiots and we had no idea.”
Instead, Van Bijsterveldt gave serious reactions to Van Raak’s sarcastic questions. She even detailed that the island was in habited until 1900, that the lighthouse was built in 1917 and remained inhabited until 1929, and that there are still remnants of Lulu town. The minister added for good measure that she did not know whether there was a school in the town. Apparently, she did not check Wikipedia.
What the Minister failed to add something to her answer, so we’ll do it for her: “Navassa was added to the list erroneously by a civil servant who had no idea what he or she) was doing. I am responsible for the mistake and I have ordered the civil servant to read up on Navassa on Wikipedia.”

Did you like this? Share it:
Opinion: Navassa by

Comments are closed.