University reminds government of promise to increase subsidy

POSTED: 10/28/15 5:33 PM

St. Maarten – On May 20 the Board of the University of St. Maarten Foundation, assisted by its management team, discussed the developments of the University with the parliamentary committee of Education, Culture, Youth & Sport Affairs. During that meeting, which was chaired by MP Silveria Jacobs, Minister of Education Rita Bourne-Gumbs made two public promises. She pledged that the government would officially recognize the USM, and the annual subsidy would be increased to enable the institution to better serve the people of this island.

Last week the first of these promises, in the form of a letter of endorsement, was kept. “Board and management would like to thank the minister for keeping her promise, as it demonstrates the character of the person the people of Sint Maarten have in office,” the university stated in a press release. Additionally, the board extended its gratitude to Minister Claret Connor and the MPs Maurice Lake, Tamara Leonard, Leona Marlin-Romeo, Silveria Jacobs, and Cornelius de Weever for their unwavering support to the USM. “Their lobbying and endorsement of the institution (Mr. Lake, Mr. Connor, and Ms. Leonard also as a faculty) were indispensable in getting us this far. The same applies for Antonio Aventurin and Calvin Mardembrough of the Department of Study Financing, who have continued to recommend scholarship recipients to the institution.”

The board however is still waiting for the second promise to be kept, namely, that as of next year the USM will receive more government subsidy. Currently the USM receives less than 1% of the budget allocated for education. “In such a situation the USM cannot achieve its mission of contributing to a reality whereby every Sint Maarten household is inhabited with a person who holds at least an Associate Degree; in other words an educated population that will enable the people of this island to man managerial positions. Upward mobility ought to be non-negotiable for everyone who cares about Sint Maarten. We trust the second promise will also be kept by the government.”

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