The press briefings have become tasteless and are almost on the same level as the discussions in Parliament. This is mainly due to the attitude of two returning ministers who act as if the ministries are their personal domains. The funny thing is that they begged to resume their respective positions prior to elections; yet, they have not displayed any form of maturity nor expressed any tangible progress. Instead, there is a continuous flow of juvenile behaviour and repetitious information.
I often wondered if the UP Party did not address the issue of a new hospital, what exactly would be the focus of Health Minister Emil Lee. He has become like a broken record regarding his explanation of the proposed new hospital. He has completely ignored the rest of his portfolio. Throughout his tenure he hardly addressed the labour situation nor has he shown much concern about matters affecting the youth. This is why no business owner should be assigned the portfolio that deals with labour affairs. They could never approach the situation and regulations from an impartial standpoint.
Besides, when the Minister took office for the first time he stressed the need to be transparent when he advertised the positions within his ministry. I challenged his decisions, in writing, because I didn’t believe that this was a value that he holds most dear. At the time, one member of his cabinet went in as a volunteer and then to a paid worker. Was the vacancy advertised? This time around members of his cabinet were made public during a press briefing. How come the procedure is different this time? Minister Lee, people can change their outlook on certain prejudices, but not their values.
Then just last week one of the journalists asked him a personal question, which he could have answered with a simple yes, if believes so much in the integrity of the Medical Center. Instead, he chose to insult her. When I heard this response, it reminded me of the reaction of grocery owners of the same ethnic background who publicly declared that they are not here to solve the labour situation on St. Maarten. Minister Lee, this is the behaviour of a chameleon and so you do not have my attention anymore!
Chairlady Wescot-Williams, you’re not going to like this article either, but as you
know, I do not say what politicians want to hear. Chairlady, you don’t’ see it right now but you have made a gross mistake. Your decision will come back to haunt you. Give it time to mature!
Adjacent to Minister Lee is the Minister of Education Silveria Jacobs. This is very difficult to do Minister, but sometimes we have to hear precisely what we don’t want to hear. I’ve watched your performance the first time you were elected back in 2012. In fact, I admired your devotion, loyalty and the tenacity that you brought to your new position. Your approach towards the success of the ministry was different and so a vast portion of the population was behind you, but especially those who worked within the field of education. At that time, I saw an individual that executed her task selflessly; one who was so humble and caring.
Now, it’s the complete opposite. At the press briefings her demeanour is so different when she delivers her address and responds to frivolous comments. All that elegance and tact have disappeared. To make matters worse, the Minister is forever on her phone with absolutely no regard for her colleagues, members of the press and the viewers. Consistently, there is talk of the lack of direction within the Ministry of Education, from early childhood to university level. Teachers are feeling abandoned and this was quite evident when some chose to take their plight elsewhere, rather than directly to Minister.
Each time her performance comes into question the first reaction is a sucking of the teeth, followed by three famous words, “She has changed.” Minister Jacobs, if teachers are not with you on this journey of education, it means that your ministry is going under. Teachers are looking for leadership. You know what is so disheartening Minister Jacobs, the other Ministers of Education had one chance this is your third, and if you cannot succeed with three tries…you can complete the famous saying. Surely, the country is at a crossroad and there is no guarantee that NA would ever have the opportunity to be in charge of this ministry again.
With regard to your comment, “those of you who like to talk about the youth need to get from behind the computer and volunteer.” I would respond by saying that the comment was juvenile. Thank God that some of us are behind the computer because many cannot wait to grab what was expressed in the opinion page and pass it as theirs. Besides, there are many of us who volunteer discreetly and are much more effective than a lot who are there publicly.
Yes Minister Jacobs, I agree with you when you said that it is time to put your money where your mouth is. It simply means that you need to take on the same attitude as the Finance Minister, who has dissected his ministry and is executing his task from the premise of leadership, with a vision into the future!