SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - As a follow-up to the digital letter of appreciation sent to Dutch Ministers Ingrid van Engelshoven of Education, Culture and Science and Arie Slob of Primary and Secondary Education and Media, Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Jorien Wuite paid a visit to the Dutch Representative of the Netherlands based in St. Maarten Chris Johnson on April 18th and presented him the official original copy of the letter as well as an overview of all donations received from the Dutch Ministry after hurricane Irma and a listing as to where those items were disseminated.
Also presented to Mr. Johnson was a collection of thank-you drawings made by students of various primary schools on the island, including an enormous thank you card made by the students of the Methodist Agogic Center Browlia F. Maynard Campus.
During the visit Minister Wuite, along with representatives of the Ministry’s management team, had the opportunity to once again express gratitude for the aid provided by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.
As stated in the letter Minister Wuite expressed that “The passing of Hurricane Irma and Maria left our country in a state of emergency. In September, we reached out to our international partners and stakeholders, with our urgent request to assist us to rebuild and restructure our beloved island.
“We were able to rely on you, as one of our strong partners in education, through your immediate response to assist us. This display of partnership and support gave us strength in our venture to jump-start the successful re-opening of the schools in October, while furthering the damage assessments in the sectors of education, culture, youth and sport.”
Varying items such as school furniture, various school materials, white boards and digital boards, laptops, printers and first aid kits were just some of the smaller items received in addition to three large pavilion tents complete with technical assistance on erection.
Ministry staff, in close consultation and dialogue with the school boards, ensured that all donations were itemized and delivered based on schools’ specific needs. As donations continue to be received the Ministry will continue to work diligently to make sure these items are properly cataloged and distributed. Minister Wuite expresses her sincere appreciation for the hard-working staff members that spent hours on the project and commends their dedication.
Minister Wuite was also able to discuss with Mr. Johnson progress made to date with repairs to school and sport facilities on the island as well as share concerns on the extensive amount of work to be done before the peak of the next hurricane season.
Mr. Johnson thanked the Minister for her visit and reaffirmed the support of the Dutch government in the recovery of the island on a whole and in particular all schools, sports facilities and cultural monuments.
CUTLINE: from left to right, Shermina Powell-Richardson - Acting Secretary General, Minister Wuite, Suzan Afjes - Policy Advisor, Oralie Board - Division of Education Innovations Head, Chris Johnson - Dutch Representative to St. Maarten, Robert-Jan de Wilde - Policy Staff of representation office.