Divi Little Bay unveils first environmental code of conduct signs

POSTED: 04/17/11 9:28 PM

St. Maarten – The first of 32 environmental signs communicating the island’s code of conduct on protecting the marine environment was unveiled at Divi Little Bay on Friday afternoon. The hotel is taking part in a pilot project that will also lead to it becoming a Blue Flag certified property by October.

The 32 signs, designed by Pravina Daryanani, and 24 garbage bins will be placed at five beaches and a marina in the coming days. The information signs include emergency numbers and rules for camping and fires.

Director of Tourism Regina Labega is proud of the unveiling, saying that it was yet another aspect of the Tourism Master Plan (Tourmap) that had been accomplished and assured the environmental community that Tourism Minister Franklin Meyers remains committed to environmental conservation.

“This is a really important milestone that puts St. Maarten in a select club. We began this process some six years ago with the Tourism Master Plan, in which preserving the environment was placed as a key area. I can tell you that Minister Franklin Meyers remains committed to this project, which began under former Commissioner of Tourism Frans Richardson, especially since it promotes sustainability of our natural resources,” Labega said.

Sustainability was emphasized by Product Development Assistant Lisa Noel who said, “There can be no tourism without a healthy environment. There must be a balance, especially when it comes to our beaches because they are still among the top reasons why tourists select our destination.”

         Angelique Martes-Roumou, the policy assistant on tourism in Minister Meyer’s cabinet stressed the political commitment to the project. She also congratulated Divi Little Bay for being one of the areas where the project is piloted and congratulated Darynani for the work she did on the signs.

“This undertaking is one we applaud and I have to say to Pravina, I saw your work and I believe it was really well done. Congratulations to her art teacher as well,” Martes-Roumou said.

Divi’s General Manager Cedric Pas considers it a wonderful distinction to be part of the Blue Flag Project and stressed the resort across the board commitment.

“I definitely can’t do it without the team that we have here. That includes the housekeepers, the beach boys and the public maintenance crew. At every hotel where I’ve worked there’s always been a commitment to the environment and I pledge to continue to work at preserving the environment here as well,” Pas said.

Independent Project Manager from Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) Rueben Thompson confirmed the “elite club status”, pointing out that the Blue Flag program exists in 40 countries and covers 3, 700 locations. He thanked Divi’s management for giving the project a prime location to tell people what Blue Flag stands for and what is expected on a Blue Flag beach.

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