Factions support renaming Dutch Quarter Community Center in Lynch’s honor

POSTED: 04/5/11 12:04 PM

W. Marlin: “Edgar was the best Central Committee chairman to date”

St. Maarten – Two factions in Parliament have supported a proposal to rename the Dutch Quarter Community Center after former Commissioner and Island Council Member Edgar Hubert Lynch. The proposal was launched on Sunday at a memorial service at the center to honor the former State Secretary, who was seen as the man from Dutch Quarter and who worked on its behalf. National Alliance faction leader William Marlin was the first to announce his support for the idea and was seconded by 1st Vice President of Parliament Petrus Leroy de Weever.

Many of Monday’s tributes focused on the fact that Lynch was a political bridge builder who reached out to the opposition when he was a commissioner and reached out to the government from the opposition benches. Many speakers also praised him for being a hard worker and political mentor to many despite their political affiliation. MPs also credited Lynch for piloting the legislation that led to a moment of silence at the start of meetings, the law that puts the people with the most votes on a slate into office no matter their place on the list, the establishment of Safe Haven, the amendments to the Fireworks Ordinance that made the storage regulations stricter and the introduction of the National Day of Prayer.

Presidium

President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell, who at one time was not sure about the moment of silence, attested to the wisdom of the move saying, “It really gives each of us a chance at the start of each meeting to focus our thoughts and I thank Edgar for his wisdom.”

Arrindell pressed Julian Lynch, brother of the deceased “to continue with his work and legacy” as it relates to the publishing of Know Your Political History. She also told Lynch’s widow, Ombudsman Nilda Lynch Arduin she would be there to provide a listening ear and shoulder to cry on whenever she needed it.

“We will miss his bug brown eyes and the Peridot Foundation will certainly miss him at our functions, which he always attended unless there was a schedule conflict. I will also always remember that Edgar stood up for me publicly when I was going through a particular difficult time professionally,” Arrindell said.

De Weever admitted that while politics divided him and Lynch as they were in different movements they agreed that the betterment of St. Maarten needs to be the primary focus and called on all his colleagues to emulate the deceased politician and businessman.

“I will not want to see that your husband’s good works are interred with his bones,” De Weever told Lynch’s widow.

The 2nd Vice President of Parliament Patrick Illidge, whose family was close with Lynch, revealed he’d been a long time supporter of the deceased, who he knew affectionately as Barber. He first cast his vote for Lynch when he returned from studying in the Netherlands and continued to do so, because he viewed him as a man who fought for his country.

“Barber will certainly be missed across St. Maarten, but especially in Dutch Quarter. His unique voice, that unique voice, will be missed,” an obviously emotional Illidge said.

Faction leaders

W. Marlin, who was also emotional, remembered Lynch as a man who had given his life in service to the island in many ways. He remembered him as a man who had copies of every legislation, every correspondence and all motions of the Island Council. He also remembered him as someone who always came through with advice and was always on the ball.

“As a commissioner he left his mark behind by working tirelessly and attempting to fulfill every service. Edgar also brought his own style to being chair of the Domestic Committee of the Island Council, not one of pomp, but one of hard work. I can remember in that time there was a record amount of meetings and record number of guests who were able to bring their grievances, concerns and issues to the members of the Island Council. I can say without a doubt or the blink of an eye say that Edgar was the best Central Committee chairman to date,” W. Marlin said.

The National Alliance leader also recalled that Lynch had lived his life in such a way that no one in the National Alliance opposed Lynch’s nomination as State Secretary of Justice in 2004 and said yet again Lynch brought his personal style to the job by taking a hands on approach to solving the problems brought before him, especially helping suspended officers to return to their duties.

United People’s Party faction leader Romain Laville, who confessed to not knowing Lynch very well, had enough knowledge to label him extraordinary and his life a testimony. He also recalled his October 5 swearing in where Lynch shook his hand and urged him to “do the people of St. Maarten proud.” In his death Laville believes Lynch’s legacy now belongs with his sons.

“You must now take it to the next level. The call has been placed upon you, Edgardo and Henry, to ensure the work he started is not left undone,” Laville said.

Faction leader of the Democratic Party Roy Marlin considered himself fortunate to have served with Lynch during eight of the 12 years that he was in the Island Council, first as a member of the opposition and then as a member of the Executive Council. He recalled that Lynch made a contribution in every meeting and never held a grudge after especially heated debates.

“He was such a man that the debate might continue outside the meeting room and he was the kind of politician who knew his rules of order and if you weren’t paying keen attention he’d even invent a rule on you. The details of our encounters are no longer important, the memories are. The books he co-authored with his brother Julian will serve as a guidance for people who need to do research on the political history of St. Maarten. Edgar has done his duty and he has done his part,” the D.P faction leader said.

National Alliance

N.A. MP George Pantophlet was “appalled” at the vast amount of work Lynch did in his career and remembered him as a serious and knowledgeable person who began calling him “broeder” when he was elected to the Island Council for the first time.

“I remember asking him: why must I speak at every meeting and he replied: you must always make sure that you are on record and remember the second round is time for action. And now we see that God has called and broeder has answered,” Pantophlet said.

Fellow N.A. MP Frans Richardson described Lynch’s passing as the loss of a pillar and foundation for the party, describing Lynch as someone the party could always count on. He recalled that Lynch sought to teach especially the elected officials in the party how to conduct themselves and ensured that he called and visited every week when the party spent 15 months in the Executive Council from 2009 to 2010.

“Many of those meetings were to discuss how we could work for people and fix issues for the people. It was never about getting something for himself. Edgar was a true son of the soil, who always stayed in touch and was there in your need. We cannot allow such a great man to be forgotten,” F. Richardson said.

Dr. Lloyd Richardson, also of the N.A. faction, encouraged his colleagues to emulate Lynch’s life. He believes doing so will make the community a better place.

“I always respected his reverence to the God he served and though we are shocked at his passing, we are thankful that the Lynch family lent him to us,” Dr. Richardson said.

“Mr. Lynch was a great, great man of honor and we all have shed tears now that he is gone,” is how N.A. MP Hyacinth Richardson opened his remembrance. He recalled how Lynch had written a profile for him when he was a young baseball player. He also communicated a sentiment many feel.

“Mr. Lynch has done a lot for St. Maarten and somehow I still feel like he is still here,” H. Richardson said.

MP Louie Laveist said the deep cutting loss people feel at Lynch’s death is personified by the N.A.’s leader. The latter was visibly emotional, something that is rare.

“It gives me comfort to know though that you will place everything in the hand of God,” Laveist told the family.

More generally he said, “I have experienced the sensitivity and caring nature of Mr. Lynch, when I was going through my trials and tribulations. He gave me the inspiration and the courage to move on.”

United People’s Party

MP Jules James remembered Lynch as a hard worker who was approachable and who will be remembered for never shying away from a good debate.

“St. Maarten has lost a good man, who held St. Maarten at heart, literally,” James said.

MP Silvia Meyers-Olivacce said Lynch was a friend of her family and mentor to her husband.

“He has touched our lives and he has also been a guidance counselor to many others who will continue in his legacy. He told me to ensure that I walk with my Bible every day and that is something that I surely do,” the UP MP said.

Dr. Ruth Douglas said, “Edgar Lynch has left a unique effect and encouraged each of us to think about the effect we have on others. I am proud to have met Edgar Lynch and the lesson I have learned from him is to make a difference in people’s lives.”

“I will always have respect for Mr. Lynch. He mentored me a lot in politics. The only one who has sat and mentored me is Edgar Lynch, not even my own party. He was a man with a memory no one else had. He was a real friend and a real mentor and today we are treasuring his memory,” MP Johan Leonard said.

Council of Ministers

Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams coupled Lynch’s death with that of Eulalie Meyers-Hazel and said both losses, coming so near each other, leaves the nation wondering how it will fill the void created by their absence. She also acknowledged his contributions to the process of constitutional change by helping to “run the race and carry the baton.”

“This was a man who held St. Maarten close to his heart,” Wescot-Williams said.

In a moment where she connected with Lynch’s widow as one widow to another the prime minister also said, “I urge you to look at this a test of faith that as you reach a pinnacle and then are faced with such a tragedy that you consider preparation for even greater pinnacles to come.”

Ministers of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications Franklin Meyers added, “Edgar Lynch has seen me grow politically. He was a true St. Maartener who understood that when one St. Maartener looks good, we all look good and when one of us looks bad, we all look bad. I urge the family to hold on to the good memories.”

Justice Minister Roland Duncan, who wrote the amendment to the electoral law at Lynch’s request, called the deceased “a long time good friend” who had done democracy well by allowing those elected on the popular vote to enter the legislature and by being a political historian.

Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Rhoda Arrindell saluted Lynch’s contributions in education and told the family, “All of St. Maarten is here for you.

Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor Cornelius de Weever applauded Lynch’s contribution in that area as well saying, “His contributions have helped to lead us to where we are today.”

Monday’s formal remembrance of Lynch, who spent consecutive 12 years in the Island Council, with four years in the Executive Council and five months in 2004 as State Secretary of Justice, comes ahead of his funeral, which will be held at the Philipsburg Methodist Church on Wednesday. Tributes will be read from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and the funeral service will begin at 3:00 p.m.

 

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