“Back in the Day” Heritage theme for St. Maarten’s Day 2013

POSTED: 10/10/13 12:06 PM

St. Maarten – Minister of Culture Patricia Lourens introduced the members of the St. Maarten Day Committee to organize the upcoming St. Maarten’s Day celebrations yesterday at a press conference in the A C Wathey Legislative Hall. The theme for this year’s festivities will be “Back in the Day.” Neville York is the chairman of the committee. Sharon Cannegieter is the coordinator and communications liason person. Other coordinators on the committee are Fabiana Arnell, Daphne Thomas, Alan Richardson, Jeanelle Richardson, and Rodney Richardson, who is also in charge of communications.

Minister Lourens took time during the conference to announce the winner of a raffle for the Youth Round Table Conference recently held. “One of the promises made was that there would be a draw of all the names of the 1,600 plus participants and that a prize would be won.” That prize was a laptop and the winner’s email address was read aloud, janneke@archyon.com. “That person can go see the persons at the youth department to collect their laptop,” the minister said.

“This year’s St. Maarten’s day is a very special day,” York declared after the minister departed, “in that we’re going to be going back in the day, with the objective of looking back in the past to inspire the future.” He remarked that “we have very capable persons. They are very diverse and specialized in their background. And as such makes my task as chairperson very easy this year.”

Cannegieter said that, “We really wanted to stick to our theme. And in so doing, we have created a program that reflects Back in the Day. We will be having tokens that represent items of back in the day, our decorations will reflect such, and our food and entertainment, also be reflected, as the theme says, Back in the Day.”

Fellow member Arnell added that, “Our idea for this theme was actually looking back to what our forefathers have given us the privilege to accomplish today. So we’re giving thanks and we’re going to end up the evening with the present moment.”

Arnell then listed the events planned for the day, including the round the island relay, then ecumenical church services. There will be a wreath laying ceremony. A Coast Guard presentation for the dignitaries and their guests is also planned for the day. Uniformed troops parading around Philipsburg will be formally saluted. The dignitaries will then be welcomed at the St. Maarten Festival Village, and all further activities hosted by the ministry of culture will be held at the Festival Village, including scouting troops giving a short presentation inside, followed by speeches from officials of both sides of the island and a toast which will allow the festivities to begin.

Arnell said there will be “music, theatre, dance, poetry, and song by various persons, groups, and organizations.” The evening will close off with a firework display, she said, and will end earlier – 9pm as opposed to midnight – because the following day is a work day.

Chairman York pointed out a popular misconception that 11 November was chosen because it was the day Columbus sailed past the island. It was not for this reason, he explained, but rather that the leaders of both sides in 1959 wanted a date to symbolize the unity of the people and chose 11 November because it is the date of the armistice of the First World War, something both nations could appreciate.

“As much as possible the committee wants to go back in the past to remember old St. Maarten,” Arnell said. As the date draws nearer, the committee will reveal more details.

The St. Maarten Day festivities will not be connected to the arrival of the King and Queen the following day as that is handled by a separate committee and falls under a different ministry.


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