MP Leona Marlin Romeo wants full study financing for her child that is studying in the Netherlands.
PHILIPSBURG:--- The division head of the Study Financing Department Antonio Aventurin has decided to clear the air on an article he said was published with malicious intent to victimize him as a senior civil servant and father. Aventurin said the article and all that is said in the community is being perpetrated by politicians, especially those that made false promises to people (voters) and at the end of the day does nothing for those people.
Aventurin said that his son got into some legal problems in Florida, but so far he has not been charged with a crime and he has not gotten his day in court. “As far as I know a person is innocent until proven guilty but here on St. Maarten people are being prosecuted and convicted in the media.”
The senior civil servant said that the home of his son was robbed, which was reported to police and the police caught the robbers. He said after that the police called his son to identify his items that were stolen and among those things marijuana was found. When that happened he said his son was detained for five or six hours and was released. “His rights was not read to him, he was questioned and accused of having illicit drugs with the intention to sell/ distribute. This incident occurred on April 15th, 2016 and so far my 20 year old son that is attending college in Florida has not yet been charged, apart from that he is still in school.
Aventurin said that while on the recent trip to the USA with the Minister of EYS the Today newspaper wrote an article with lots of assumptions, that are not factual, besides that author of the article never contacted him or his wife for a comment on what happened. Since then he said the entire community especially politicians are using this incident to victimize him as a civil servant and to also destroy his son who is still in school. What is more disturbing he said that the owner of the newspaper that wrote the article is part of the current Council of Ministers and he too did nothing to ensure that clarity is brought to the public. He said his lawyers are currently reviewing the article and they will be requesting clarificaitions and if that is not done he will take legal action.
Aventurin laid the smear campaign squarely at the feet of politicians who made promises to people and they never fulfilled any of it. “People would approach the politicians and ask for all sorts of things and the politicians will promise them that they will look into it or ensure they get whatever they wanted. But when the politicians check with the various departments and realized that the policies does not allow them to deviate, unless they write an official letter to say they have decided to by-pass the rules to grant X or Y their wishes and the reason for such they stay quiet and leave the departments and or civil servants take the blame.”
The department head said that a particular politician wanted government to give her child a full scholarship from St. Maarten, while that student is receiving his study financing in the Netherlands. Aventurin said students that are in the Netherlands studying gets half of what the other students get that are studying elsewhere simply because those studying in the Netherlands are getting monies from the Dutch government. He said what is more disturbing is that the politician was part of a coalition and the Minister of Education that was appointed by the coalition she supports denied her child the full scholarship based on the policies. He said that decision was appealed and even went as far as the Ombudsman who agreed that the student should only get what is allotted to every other student studying in the Netherlands.
However, the politician he said remained disgruntled and continues to blame him instead of blaming the Minister who took the decision not to grant her what she wants but what the law allows government to grant student studying in the Netherlands.
Aventurin said the malicious article had his son’s full name and photograph on the front page while people that commit heinous crimes and take the lives of other people only their initials are printed.
He further explained that the article was even sent to the school his son is attending for the school to further jeopardize his son.
“As a father I want to make clear, both my wife and I are tax payers and my son got a scholarship not because of favors from anyone, he got a scholarship based on his grades and it was granted by Minister Patricia Lourens in 2014 and not Minister Silveria Jacobs. He further explained that his son if and when charged and if convicted will have to face the consequences of his actions and or decisions, I am not a person that encourages wrong doing, however, I am a parent and I have to support my son by providing him with legal representation and moral support he needs at this time. My son is not the first to make mistakes or wrong choices and certainly he will not be the last one.”
Aventurin said he also got a scholarship and went away to study and he returned to St. Maarten and is working hard for his country. He believes that the time has come for the politicians that are busy campaigning to come out and tell the people the truth and not start a smear campaign against civil servants or anyone else.
While Aventurin did not name the politician who wanted more than is due to her child, SMN News found out it was MP Leona Marlin Romeo who fought to get a full scholarship for her child that is studying in the Netherlands and instead of attacking the Minister that was in office and appointed by the coalition she supported back then she chose to attack the department that handles study financing.