Opinion: Emilio WilsonPOSTED: 08/28/11 9:58 PM
Saturday it was one hundred years ago that Emilio Wilson was born. Heritage and environment foundations justly honor our cultural icon each year to keep his memory alive.
Every year this celebration of a man who came from a simple background to become the owner of a huge estate brings the battle for the preservation of the estate to the foreground.
Currently, the Emilio Wilson Estate’s owners are former Minister of Plenipotentiary Henri Brookson and the Paas family. In the past couple of years, Brookson has moved mountains in an attempt to develop part of the estate and to build 200 homes there.
These plans never materialized, mainly due to resistance from heritage and environment foundations who found in the end support in St. Maarten’s Island Council. The estate is now on the Monument list. That does not make all development impossible, but it limits what developers are allowed to do there.
The most recent plans for the estate involve the construction of a small hotel and the possible development of a “rain forest attraction.”
It has been very quiet around these plans recently, but with so much property available, it won’t be long before something happens. The economic downturn may have slowed down the execution of the plans, we’re not sure, but we do know that the foundations that have fought long and hard to protect the estate in its current state are not happy with them.
If only Milo could talk: he would tell all parties involved what he really intended to happen to the estate.