Harbour Group considers stopping fireworks in PhilipsburgPOSTED: 12/29/11 12:09 PM
Diamonds International steps up as co-financer
GREAT BAY – The St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies and Diamonds International have partnered to deliver what may be the last fireworks show in Philipsburg for years to come. The Harbour Group’s CEO Mark Mingo is mulling not carrying on after nearly a decade of organizing and paying for the fireworks because businesses in Philipsburg have not stepped up to provide entertainment alongside and leading up to the midnight fireworks show. That lack of participation has led to waning crowds over the last five years.
“The fireworks are not enough. The show was developed to be the climax of an evening of entertainment and festivities. This may be the final year of the fireworks spectacular because in the past years other businesses surrounding Great Bay have not taken much initiative to add activities to enhance the evening with entertainment. A package of entertainment and fireworks would be a boost for tourism if planned and marketed in advance to the surrounding islands and elsewhere. It is an opportunity lost to show what an outstanding entertainment hub St. Maarten is,” Mingo said on Wednesday.
“The Harbour Group knows and accepts its role as a corporate citizen, but it is by no means the only government-owned or private sector company that benefit from the community. Therefore, it should not be the only company striving to bring live to Philipsburg by attracting more cruise business or putting on a fireworks display that boosters establishments along the boardwalk, along the edges of Great Bay and Philipsburg in general,” Mingo added as he stressed his disappointment at the underwhelming participation from businesses in terms of the concerts.
Later he’d add, “The Harbour Group has again done its part. We have informed the cruise ships that will be in port on New Year’s Eve about the fireworks at midnight. Holland America’ Prinsendam will be staying in port until after the show so her cruise passengers can start 2012 in our paradise.”
The ship, one of four that will be in port, has delayed its departure from 11:00 p.m. to after midnight.
This year’s show, which should last 23 minutes, will cost $65, 000. The actual show will be done by Caribbean Pyrotechnics SARL. They’ll operate from a barge anchored at Bobby’s Marina that is some 200 metres from Cruise Pier II. A 150 metre security perimeter will be set up and maintained by the Coast Guard and harbour security. This is meant to keep outside the 150 metres radius.
This year’s show will be done manually because some of the containers hooked up to a computerised mechanism at the start of 2011 malfunctioned when they got wet and did not fire.
Though it may be the final year for the show the Harbour has found a financing partner in Diamonds International. The company’s Managing Director Moshe Hakimi is “proud to contribute to the fireworks display.”
“It promises to be a grand spectacle that the whole community is invited to watch from the many vantage points in Philipsburg and right along the boardwalk. We are proud to be involved in the fireworks display which we hope will be one of the best ever,” Hakimi said.