Pride awards local farmerson World Environment DayPOSTED: 06/6/11 1:03 PM
GREAT BAY – The St. Maarten Pride Foundation organized a cocktail party on Saturday at the 3 Palms restaurant in Simpson Bay to honor the volunteers that help the organization throughout the year to realize its goals. Pride awarded certificates of appreciation to GEBE public relations officer Giselle Dirckx, local farmers Ras Bushman and Nas Touzam Jan Bash and Today’s managing editor Hilbert Haar.
Dirckx, who will leave the island for the Netherlands in six weeks, received her certificate for her unrelenting support to the introduction of reusable shopping bags. Jan Bash and Bushman were put in the spotlight for promoting local farming. Haar was awarded for his dedication to the environment of St. Maarten, especially through articles about the protection of the Emilio Wilson Estate throughout the years.
Pride president Jadira Veen welcomed the Minister of Public health, Social Development and Labor Affairs Cornelius de Weever to the invitation-only cocktail party. The Minister took part in a recent cleanup action at the Fresh Pond. “This explains the absence of other politicians here this afternoon,” Veen quipped.
Dolphin defender Mercedes de Windt used the opportunity to talk to the minister about the petition against the establishment of a dolphinarium in St. Maarten. After an intense discussion, the Minister promised to look into the matter and take a decision about signing the petition at a later moment.
The cocktail party took place on the eve of World Environment Day, which was observed by millions of people around the world yesterday.
Minister de Weever briefly addressed the gathering on Saturday, saying that he had been brought up not to litter. That lesson has stayed with him, he said. The Minister said that St. Maarten needs environmental organizations like the Pride Foundation. “Keep doing what you are doing,” were his words of encouragement.
Nas Touzam Jan Bash emphasized the importance of local farming. He is farming in Bellevue on the French side of the island on a piece of land given to the Rastafarian community by the Fleming family back in 2007. The project is flourishing on different levels. Not only does it offer employment and does it produce locally grown vegetables, it also functions as a learning project for pupils from local schools.
With food prices going through the roof, locally produced food is becoming more important. “We could have 25 of these gardens around the island,” Jan Bash said.