Published On: Sat, Sep 7th, 2019

94 persons graduated NIPA’s Carpentry, Masonry, Property Maintenance, Plumbing and Electrical Installation Training Programs

Shannon Bell - Graduate NIPA Masonry Class of 2019

CAY HILL — On Thursday, September 5, 2019, the campus of the National Institute for Professional Advancement, NIPA, was the site of the graduation of the second cohort of the St. Maarten Emergency Income Support and Training Project.

Whereas the first cohort had 72 graduates, the second cohort produced 94 graduates. Steering Committee Member of the St. Maarten Recovery Trust Fund, Marcel Gumbs, urged the graduates to continue with the training programs as he pledged to go back for more money for the NIPA training programs which were already funded by the World Bank Trust Fund to the tune of 22 million US Dollars.

Minister of Education, Wycliffe Smith said “Our country will be so much better with so many graduates.” as he addressed the students, their teachers, dignitaries and other invited guests, family members and friends.

Among the dignitaries where the newly appointed minister of VROMI, Christopher Wever; Head of the Representation of the Netherlands in St. Maarten Chris Johnson; and the keynote speaker, Professor Clement Imbert, Chairman of the Board of MIC-IT in Trinidad.

Words of welcome were offered by the General Director of NIPA, Sergio Blomont. Drs. Peggy-Ann Dros, AVE President of the Board of Directors of NIPA said in her congratulatory address that eventhough the people of St. Maarten did not choose a battle with Irma, the Irma battle chose us and we are ready for the fight to rebuild. Dros asked the gathering for a moment of silence to remember the fact that Hurricane Luis hit St. Maarten on September 5, 1995, and to pray for the people of The Bahamas as they battle to survive Dorian.

Chris Johnson in his congratulatory remarks reminded the gathering that “reconstruction is about people”. Slogan for the NIPA training in conjunction with MIC-IT in Trinidad is “Retraining for Rebuilding”.

Marcel Gumbs at NIPA graduation ceremonyMarcel Gumbs had information for the misinformed media, journalists and bloggers on St. Maarten as he addressed the gathering and graduates in his congratulatory remarks that “the Trust Fund money is a grant” which does not have to be paid back as he took aim against politicians and bloggers who choose to spread fake information and negativity on the island that nothing was being done with the trust fund money. “We need to turn the narrative from negativity to positivity” he said. “Government should not only focus on building buildings but should focus on building people.”

Gumbs promised the graduates that he would go back to the World Bank for more money as he felt strongly that much more courses were needed, especially in the areas of phone etiquette, manners and common courtesy.

Awards to the graduates was presented by Anil Ramnarine, the CEO of MIC-IT in Trinidad while afterwards certificates were handed out to the graduates by Deshaun David, Programme Manager MIC-IT, by Sergio Blomont (Director NIPA) and by several of the MIC-IT instructors of the construction programs.

Shannon Richardson - Valedictory Speech NIPA Masonry Class of 2019

The ceremony was rounded off with the valedictorian address given by Class Valedictorian Shannon Bell who graduated in the field of Property Maintenance and was the recipient of three awards.

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Related articles and links:
NIPA and MIC-IT sign One-year Extension Agreement
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