Government and private sector unite for St. Maarten Day

POSTED: 11/4/13 2:38 AM

“It’s about St. Maarten.”

GREAT BAY – “It’s about St. Maarten, showing our uniqueness,” Fabiana Arnell of the St. Maarten Day Organizing Committee said Friday at a press conference. The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Indian Merchants Association (IMA), the Harbor Group of Companies, the St. Maarten Day Organizing Committee, and the National Committee for the Royal Visit held a joint press conference Friday at the A C Wathey Legislative Hall to discuss their plans for decorating businesses throughout the island celebrating its heritage and for incorporating décor that honors the House of Orange.

Arnell of the St. Maarten Day committee said that it’s “an effort to ensure we can grow in marketing the island whereby we are placing banners as well as avenue banners and street banners. We’re also having advertising on the major radio stations of the different events for St. Maarten Day. And we came together, government as well as the business community and private sector, sat down together in an effort to enhance the awareness of our national day.”

President of the local chamber of commerce, Tamara Leonard, thanked the government for involving the chamber “in this prestigious event.” Leonard said, “We are here today to basically represent the private sector and encourage them as it pertains to following suit with the committees and their effort as it pertains to decoration.”

She encouraged all business and store owners to “as much as possible decorate your showcases, decorate and give a presence to celebrate St. Maarten Day to the utmost.” She also further encouraged chamber members to use the colors of the House of Orange as “a sign of honoring our King who will be visiting.” Because the royal couple is visiting on the following day, Leonard reasoned that it would be better to decorate all at once instead of having to do so twice “using the colors of the flag with a hint of orange.”

Claret Connor, also of the chamber, said “the decorations should follow the colors of our flag.” He mentioned that the traditional cloth that is used is the madras cloth, which “should also have some sort of a presence in your decoration.” He said the chamber looked forward to a “positive response from the business and general community in decorating St. Maarten for St. Maarten Day.”

Speaking on behalf of the IMA, Peter Mirpuri thanked both government committees for inviting and involving the IMA. “We are very glad and pleased to participate.” The IMA has asked all business to join in on the decorating of their premises for both occasions. The IMA wants its members to “show their pride in participating in those festive events.” Mirpuri was confident that “this communication between all of us will prove very good in the organization of these events.”

The Harbor Group is “going to go all out with its decorations at the harbor,” its members said. “We’re going to have an open house” for the public to come and visit the facilities, including a tour of the Coast Guard vessel and giveaways. The Harbor Group repeated the message of encouraging everyone to decorate their homes and businesses.

Arnell had a request for the general public, citizens and business owners. “Again we ask you to display the colors of our national flag, red, white and blue. We ask you on the 12th to add a hint of orange to enhance the red, white, and blue.” She asked the general public to come out and enjoy the festivities. “Let us come and showcase who we are as St. Maarten,” Arnell said.

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