PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Education Silveria Jacobs has slammed the Today Newspaper for publishing a front page story of a St. Maarten student in Tallahassee, Florida, who committed an infraction, suggesting the story may have been a deliberate attempt at highlighting the negatives of a St. Maarten student.
The student’s father, a civil servant, has broken his silence, not only to express dismay at the story, but has accused the government of victimization as it relates to denying his child study financing. However, Minister Jacobs does not believe this incident will affect the relationship between St. Maarten and Tallahassee, despite a copy of the newspaper article being sent directly to the school the student in question attends.
“Youth on St. Maarten, youth all over the world and people in general have done and continue to do things that are wrong. The Ministry does not condone any wrongdoing. However, we would like instead of highlighting the negatives in such a way, that we highlight the positives,” Minister Jacobs said at the Council of Ministers Press briefing on Wednesday, June 8.
She said majority of St. Maarten students are doing well in St. Maarten and overseas, and it’s unfortunate the newspaper chose to highlight the negative actions of a student who made a mistake. “We would like to see them doing better, but what was coming out of those meetings we held in the United States and our colleges is that our students are doing very well,” Minister Jacobs said, adding that the student is not on probation with the school.
Regarding the accusations of the father, Minister Jacobs said as a civil servant he would be aware of rules of studying financing and the possibility of appeal. She also denied suggestions of political victimization in this regard. “The process was explained and I think we’ve explained that process several times in parliament and out of parliament; an advice is prepared by a committee, which looks at all that have been taken in and presents to the Minister. The Minister has the final say. Once the Minister decides, there is an appeal committee that deals with anyone that objects to the decision of the Minister, and then again the Minister has an opportunity to either change or maintain the position that was originally decided upon,” Minister Jacobs stated.