MP Emmanuel: Samuel unfit to lead Education Ministry, should resign

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~ Says insulting of civil servants a norm ~

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — According to Independent Member of Parliament Christophe Emmanuel, the Minister of Education Rodolphe Samuel only threw fuel on the fire and made a situation worse by questioning the integrity of civil servants in his Ministry and maintaining his position of placing a non-St. Maartener above a St. Maartener as acting head of the Department of Public Education.

The MP said that the Minister attempted to explain his actions via a press release on Wednesday “and failed miserably”. “All he did was further insult the civil servants and contradicted his own actions in the process,” the MP said. “At this stage he might as well resign, he is unfit to lead that Ministry,” Emmanuel said.

He pointed out that Samuel stated in his press release that his intentions was to start the process of making three (3) Acting positions in the ministry, permanent positions. “The Minister said he removed the local Acting head of Department Public Education (DPE) and replaced her with a non-St. Maarten national. So the Minister, who by his own words is working to make positions permanent, replaced a local in an acting role with a non-local in the same acting role. So is the Minister saying his intention is to make the non-St. Maartener permanent?” MP Emmanuel asked.

Furthermore, the MP continued, saying that the non-St. Maarten national has been here for quite some time has nothing to do with it. “Point is, there are other St. Maarten people who could have and should have been appointed or leave the person that was there in the position until you identify such a person. Perhaps even a young St. Maartener returning home with the relevant degrees. Nothing against the gentleman who was placed, but when do you start putting your people first in their own country? The Minister of Education should be ashamed of himself,” MP Emmanuel said.

The MP said that another “major insult” came in the form of the Minister questioning the integrity of civil servants. “He stated in his press release: ‘I wrote 5 letters, and I have seen one of them on social media. The letter written to Acting SG Powell-Richardson personally is the one that I saw on social media. This leads me to question the integrity of persons in the administration.’

“First of all, you just never know how things can end up where they end up. You cannot blatantly question people’s integrity without factually knowing that they committed some unprofessional act in their role. If you don’t know, then you just accused the entire administration and specifically your Secretary General, a long-time civil servant, of wrong doing,” Emmanuel said.

“We have heard reports from civil servants in the Education Ministry about the treatment they receive from Samuel and his cabinet. The fact that the Minister can so openly and without substantiation question the integrity of the civil servants directly under him further erodes mutual respect and whatever professional relationship that existed. The Minister is trying to cover up that he did not stand up for St. Maarten people and he only made the situation worse by telling other St. Maarten people that they have no integrity. He might as well resign,” MP Emmanuel concluded.