Claude Wathey commemoration leaves bitter taste for first time

POSTED: 07/27/14 11:02 PM

St. Maarten – The twelfth annual wreath-laying ceremony at the statue of Democratic Party founder Claude Wathey left a bitter taste for the first time since it was organized twelve years ago when DP-representatives realized yesterday morning that the United People’s party would organize its own ceremony in the afternoon.

Yesterday marked the 88th birth date of the late Claude Wathey. The A.C. Wathey Political Awareness Foundation organizes a brief ceremony every year at the statue that stands in front of the Government Administration Building. Last year the DP and the UP united for this ceremony, together with members of the Wathey family, but this year the coalition partners split.

“It is regretful that this occasion is being politicized,” DP-leader Sarah Wescot-Williams said after the morning’s wreath-laying. Later she spoke of a “misunderstanding” and “miscommunication” about the timing of the event.

“This year is extra special because the Democratic Party exists 60 years and this was Dr. Wathey’s 88th birthdate,” she said.

“For more than ten years we have been coming together to pay tribute to this man – whether you like him or not. His contribution to the development of St. Maarten is undeniable. The DP recognized this and still stands by what he meant for the country.”

Wescot-Williams referred to Wathey’s founding principles. “He believed in the unity of the island, in economic advancement for the benefit of all people and in social inclusion. Our party embraces all people who came to this island in search of a better life. They have made St. Maarten their home.”

The new breed of the DP has added proper governance and nation building to its guiding principles, Wescot-Williams said.

The commemoration of Wathey’s birthdate is kept up “so that we do not forget the people who made a valuable contribution to our country. This is not about politics, but it is about political awareness. This is a moment to look at where we were in 1954 and where we are now, sixty years later.

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