Published On: Thu, Nov 30th, 2017

Minister Jacobs: “No one wants the university to close”

Minister Silveria Jacobs - 28-11-2017PHILIPSBURG – ‘On Tuesday we agreed in the Council of Ministers that we must do something for the University of St. Martin (USM),” Minister Silveria Jacobs (Education) said on Wednesday, adding that the university ‘still has its responsibilities.”

The minister said that she had invited USM “for a more serious discussion on Wednesday afternoon. “No one wants the USM to close. We are willing to work with the USM towards an agreement.”

Jacobs said that she is looking forward to a solution “before the deadline of November 30 when all will be lost if we are unable to assist.”

The bottleneck still remains the lack of audited financial statements from the university. “We have been in constant discussion with USM. The main objective is to keep the university open.” Jacobs said. “But in our last meeting we were still waiting for documentation we need to prepare an advice. It is very easy for us to say we will  do this or we will do that, but there was no advice prepared because pertinent information – particularly related to USM’s financial situation – was lacking.”

The minister says that she needs more information before she can consider an increase in subsidy or a financial injection.

Wycliffe Smith, the Vice-President of the USM-board, said during a central committee meeting in Parliament on Tuesday that a financial audit would cost around $30,000 for each year. The government demands such reports for the years 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 and the university does not have the money to pay for the audits.

Smith also noted that Minister Jacobs had indicated that the government is unable to help the university. He suggested to let the government accounting bureau (SOAB) do the audits.


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