PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — UP Member of Parliament Tamara Leonard is alleging that the Minister of Education Silveria Jacobs pulled the plug on an effort by both her and the minister to help resolve the issues facing public school teachers. Ms. Leonard in a Facebook video posted Sunday night said both she and the minister agreed to lay aside their political differences and work together with the teachers behind closed doors to try and address their concerns.
However, according to the MP, a recent press release by the minister gave the impression that she was disrupting attempts at a solution, based on conflicting media reports emanating from a meeting between Leonard and the teachers.
MP Leonard suggested in the almost 30 minute video that she began to have second thoughts about the minister’s intent for them working together and some of the teachers who she described as ‘Silveria supporting teachers’ after a meeting with some of the teachers on Easter Monday while the minister was off island.
When she suggested that the resolutions discussed in that meeting would be publicized in a press release thereafter, one of the teachers said the minister would have sent out a release, according to Leonard. “At that moment I said: ‘if the minister has press release for tomorrow that means our mission, our goal has changed,” MP Leonard said.
Another meeting that followed this discourse, which was covered by two media houses, was apparently the event that led to the discord and the minister pulling the plug on the initiative, Leonard explained.
According to her one of the media houses; a newspaper she did not name, reported a completely different account of what transpired in the meeting.
She accused the reporter from the newspaper of publishing the story of a MP who inserted himself in situation casting aspersions on her, even though that MP was not at the meetings with the teachers. Minister Jacobs, upon her return to the island, decided not to proceed with the initiative any further because according to Leonard, the matter had gone too far. She believed the minister was under pressure and as such pulled the rug from underneath the initiative.
The MP was adamant on clearing her name and asserting she was not the cause of the confusion. “This is has absolutely nothing to do with me right now trying to make (Jacobs) look bad or getting back at her for the press release that she sent out on me. This is me not being able tolerate people shedding negative light on sincere and good intentions because of individuals who chose to make it political,” MP Leonard said.