Saturday , December 2 2023

Commissioner Johnson looking to strengthen relations with Lipscomb University

Commissioner of Youth Affairs, Chris Johnson, met with representatives of Lipscomb University from Nashville, Tennessee this week to discuss opportunities to strengthen and expand the relationship between the university and Saba. Since 2003 Lipscomb University has been visiting Saba every year and organizes a full program of activities for the youth of Saba during their time here.

Commissioner Johnson(2nd right) and Senior Policy Advisor, Koen van Laar,(1st right) meeting with representatives of Lipscomb University.
Commissioner Johnson(2nd right) and Senior Policy Advisor, Koen van Laar,(1st right) meeting with representatives of Lipscomb University.

Commissioner Johnson expressed his appreciation for the work Lipscomb does on Saba, Commissioner Johnson said, “It is amazing to see how the youth are always looking forward to the arrival of Lipscomb, so many children enjoy the activities Lipscomb organizes.” The Commissioner informed the representatives about developments within local government with regards to the youth policy, especially the where it concerns the Rights of the Child. In this light, various areas where Lipscomb could have role, particularly where it concerns increasing the amounts of activities available for children to participate in, were part of the discussion between the Commissioner and university representatives. The government also offered support to the University for their regular programs on the island.

Press release Saba Government Information Service

Contract signed for a 2 MW solar park on Statia
Commissioner Johnson pleased with reduction of tariff for work permits


  1. It is interesting to note the interest of foreign universities, like Lipscomb towards the development of youths on Saba. I applaud the efforts of the Commissioner, but at the same time I would like to emphasis to him, the importance of maintaining that cultural identity to the success of the islands, including St Eustatius and Bonaire, within the hemisphere. Remember Saba is just a small village within the greater Caribbean, and sustainable socio/economic growth would depend to a large scale on the peoples’ ability to create recognition of their worth.

  2. Call me a cynic, but Lipscomb is a bit short on the altruism. They come to Saba first as missionaries, and as volunteers a distant second. It is clearly marked on their website, both Spring and Summer are listed as “missions”.

    If they were not allowed to talk about God/Jesus while here, mark my words, they would stop coming.

  3. While Lipscomb has done great work on Saba with the youth since they have been coming here and even before when Ms Aletha used to teach at SCS regardless of whether the visits are missions or not it widens the youths and adults eyes alike as to what can be done to encourage growth in the short stints that they are here. However, we must remember that another important university is already on Saba and that is SUSOM, granted that they do not do much activities such as Lipscomb, they play an integral part in supporting our economy. Continued growth has been very slow with SUSOM the past 5 years and average semester student population rates have been decreasing. One would think that the government would sit at the table with SUSOM as well to see what their outlook on further development on the island would be and how government can help facilitate that. We will have to see if they wake up to that realization or not, perhaps they feel that Saba can survive without SUSOM. In any event congrats to Lipscomb once again for the great work that they do in the community and glad the government finally recognizes them for their work. Maybe they will finally fix the Sunny Valley Youth Centre for them to stay in since the one in Hells Gate is too small for their group.

  4. Religion and State Combined???

    Thank you Sabacynic! Finally someone has spoken out about this effort of Lipscomb University. At SCS they brought their ‘Religious’ beliefs into the school which is a direct contradiction to the ‘Founding Deed’ of the Saba Comprehensive Foundation. Now they bring their religious ‘Missionary’ work into our ‘Summer School Programs’? What is next a Church of Christ church on Saba sponsored in part by our government?

    Now Commissioner Johnson wants to ‘fund’ their Missionary work with Saba $$….I don’t think this is right. A big majority of the island of Saba is Catholic….ask the Church of Christ how they stand on their ‘True Religion Belief’. But next ask the Dutch Government how that this ‘Religious’ organization can be allowed to come to our island with Government approval and become an intricate part of our educational process.

  5. Great conversations. I am one who hunger for objective conversations, talks, criticisms especially when it brings in focus the diverse approaches many interest parties, groups, use in getting their objectives,purposes and visions across. Lipscomb is no different from say NuStar on Statia, in terms of interest, but the underlying point is the fact that there must be collective agreement or greater consensus of opinion, by the people at the end of the process.The political system must be engineered for a ” Bottom Up” model of governance and not vice versa. As an advocate for Change management, services can be sourced and provided to SUSOM which can be applied in bridging the conversations in the interest of SABA.

  6. The article here is also misleading. This year all the summer school activities were organized and arranged by Child Focus, not Lipscomb. Rather, Lipscomb were asked by Child Focus to serve as supervisors among the half-dozen groups of children across different activities since there were not enough local volunteers to fill those positions.

  7. Well let me put in my five cents. The organization Libscomb has been visiting the island of Saba for many years now. It was the Commissioners mother who brought them here to help out with the social program of the Sacred Heart School. Slowly they expanded their field to secondary education and after school activities.

    Now let me tell you that if you never worked with them and our youth, you have no clue what positive effect they have on our students. Everyone in school is looking forward for their coming, including teachers!!
    They are a group of young energetic motivated youngsters who know the boundaries of life and support our youth and community. NOW WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS?
    The Living water community has been doing this for donkey years.

    But what gets me the most is that the Commissioner of Education is sitting with them in a meeting to discuss the contribution of the island towards this organization. Commissioner, what your mother started, you should stay away from that. You have nothing to do with education, at least that is what you have shown us the last year. So please do not pretend in an article that you have them all at heart and that you are more than happy to assist in any mater. That is called politrics. How many times did you meet with sister Monique from the Living water Community to discuss their social program? PLEASE stay away from these social programs because they will not give you personal gain and any credits The 100% outcome of these meetings will end up in the gray garbage can because your priorities are not in this field. They are elsewhere. And you know what I mean!!!!

    Thank you Libscome for coming back to us. As a community we do appreciate your input with or without religion. That is not important since we all know that those who believe will receive. Maybe a suggestion for next time, to stay away from Government and work more closely together with Living Water Community and the Center for Youth and Family.

    They know the real problems on Saba, not the Government, believe me.

    Saba Guru

  8. SCS a Dutch government funded school and religion not allowed. Whether you agrees with this or not no religion is allowed in the school and that written in the handbook so how then can Lipscomb keeps coming over year after year. Again Saba all full of double talk. Commissioner Johnson just trying to show he working instead of dealing with the real problem with Education on SCS.
    (Shortened by editor)

  9. Saffy you hit the nail on the head. This is typical political smoke and mirrors from our Commissioner of Education. It is wonderful that he takes a lovely photo-op with Lipscomb and wants the public to believe that he cares about education on Saba, yet where was Commissioner Johnson last year when a huge percentage of teaching staff and Director van Xanten were dismissed from their positions without cause? Where was our fearless Commissioner when the previous board refused to meet with parents and cancelled meetings at the last minute with the parents association? Where was he when the students demonstrated last year about these decisions. Where has he been period?

    Judging by the last election results, it’s clear that we expect more from him and i would go as far to say, that he is lucky that he had votes already in his pocket before the election, but if this is his track record and the new rules that will be firmly enforce next election, I would say Commissioner Johnson needs to step up his game and be a little more dedicated and knowledgeable about the law, our schools, our children’s education and the wants and needs of the community.

    Personally, I have no issue with Lipscomb being involved with the kids, but they should not be involved in public school at any time. This is merely recruiting tactics; either for the school or for religious reasons, and it’s troubling that our very own Commissioner does not know the difference of the distinct separation between Church and State. This is clearly stated in Dutch law in regards to public schools being neutral zones; free from politics and religion. Whether you agree with this or not, that is the law and the Hague pays the bills!

  10. Lipscomb does not work through SCS. They work with Child Focus.

  11. Religion and State Combined???

    Lipscomb comes here during the school year as well and performs programs at SCS and does indeed perform religious teaching on the campus of SCS.