Education remains a low priority for Cabinet Pisas II, according to Steven Croes MP

WILLEMSTAD - Member of Parliament for the opposition party PAR, Steven Croes has underscored a concerning lack of emphasis on education and youth in the budget proposed by Cabinet Pisas II for the year 2024. During the parliamentary discussion on Tuesday, Croes directed pointed questions at Sithree van Heydoorn, the Minister of Education, Science, Culture, and Sport (OWCS), expressing serious reservations about the budget allocation for the education sector. 

Croes, presenting his case with statistical evidence, brought attention to a significant reduction in the 'capital service' budget for the Ministry of OWCS. This year, the government has halved the available funds from 16 million to a mere 8 million guilders. 

Despite the "Improvement of Education" document outlining a commitment to allocate 40 million guilders annually for the next five years, severe cuts across various projects and positions are anticipated to have far-reaching consequences for the education sector and the youth of Curaçao. Critical initiatives, such as urgent digitization and the provision of devices for students, may no longer be feasible. 

Croes further interrogated the Minister on decisions directly impacting children: 

Why was funding cut from the school feeding program precisely when many children rely on it? 

The sports sector, essential in youth development, witnessed a reduction of half a million guilders in the FDDK (sports federation) subsidy. Croes questioned the rationale behind this cut. 

Despite the government's assertions of managing the country with minimal resources, actions seem to contradict words. Croes questioned the necessity of allocating 100,000 guilders for 'council expenses' for the National Theater. Additionally, he inquired about the costs incurred for the fireworks show and year-end parties on Plasa Brion, along with the purchase amount for the Campo Alegre brothel. 

The budget revealed a stark increase in the post of the Cabinet Minister of OWCS, skyrocketing from 170,000 to 900,000 guilders, designated for a small group of advisers. Croes expressed his bewilderment, asserting that "it is obvious that this government, more focused on appearances, does not prioritize education."