Elco Rosario: The state of our Nation of LawPOSTED: 08/22/14 12:14 AM
Of the reactions to my article of last weekend published in Today under the heading “Left Behind” the prevailing ones were:
1) government must immediately correct the great injustice caused to this young Sint Maarten student and
2) don’t count on it that the denial to grant Juliy study financing will change: this subject, because of Juliy’s Chinese back ground, is political too sensitive; no politician, not even the actual three candidates with Asian roots (nor the others who do not belong to the so-called “indigenous Sint Maarteners”) will touch it and surely not at this hottest stage of the election season.
I, of course know about that dilemma particularly as I myself have been most instrumental in having the concept of Antilleanization accepted by our politicians and also by our peoples: it was a huge struggle that started more than 30 years ago when I took government to court about that.
But I also have always accepted that said principle had to be defended with respect for our Nation of Law, which implies, for example, as Juliy declared in the hearing regarding her appeal against the decision of the Minister of Education to deny her the study financing to study international law: our government representatives must adhere to our legislation and to the principles of proper government administration, which is something of vital interest for all our islanders, locals or not.
Regardless on which emotional side of this particular issue one might stand it should be absolutely undeniable that the existing policy on the granting of study financing as well as its execution reflect many serious and unacceptable flaws, which should be immediately corrected.
To show that the pending issue transcends Juliy’s particular person and interest but strongly affects all of us, regardless of our particular ethnic and other backgrounds I’d like to (considering the limited space) briefly mention a few of the most important mistakes that can be found in government’s handling of this case.
1. The Policy by itself: suffers of great lack of clarity a) the website regarding the Priority List, to which one is referred only mentions that it is a draft policy not a formal one and b) nowhere is indicated that it should be interpreted as exclusively.
2. The Advice of the Advisory Committee to the Minister of Education suffers of a serious neglect of the facts as it states, amongst others that Juliy was not born on Sint Maarten and does not have Dutch nationality.
3. The Hearing on Juliy’s appeal whereby:
A) The representative of the Advisory Committee who, against all procedural rules, did not once address the bulk of arguments brought forward by Juliy in her appeal and
B) One representative of the Appeal Committee clearly sided with the Advisory Committee thereby violating the essential principle of unbiasedness required from any and all Appeal Committees.
4. The Minister of Education: who, up to this day, despite the numerous mails categorically has refused to react to Juliy’s very reasonable requests about the outcome of her appeal, particularly now that others who have appealed after her, weeks ago already have received a new decision.
As someone who has studied public administration at the University of Leiden and has worked in this field for over 40 years, both in Curacao and Sint Maarten, I have offered my professional assistance to Ministries like Labor, Economics Affairs, Justice and now also of Education, each time, however, ultimately to no avail, which obviously is regrettable but still ok.
Since coming to Sint Maarten, 34 years ago, I have, from the outset, assisted local Sint Maarteners in numerous ways and in a great variety of fields, both small, very small and big, very big, which makes it remarkable, to say the least, to each time and again, hear why I only help foreigners and not the locals.
In this case, though, my desire is very simple: for the everyone, politician or not, to look at the substance of the issues I’ve brought forward and particularly that something is soonest done about them: because Juliy’s interest should be seen as the interest of each one of us, that is, to be treated in a just and equal manner…….why possible would we want to wait to do the right thing here?…politics again ?