Indian Ambassador to Venezuela visits: Indian Merchants Association snubs Parliament

POSTED: 08/19/14 11:33 PM

St. Maarten – In what appears to be a political move, the Indian Merchants Association (IMA) snubbed the Governor and Members of Parliament, including President Gracita Arrindell, on the first visit of the Indian Ambassador to Venezuela, Smita Purushottam, by not inviting them to an event tonight at the Belair Community Center. According to sources, the only member of the St. Maarten government that was specifically invited to attend was Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams. Governor Eugène Holiday is the country’s head of state on behalf of the Dutch crown and President of Parliament Arrindell represents the Parliament of St. Maarten.

Today the Indian community on the island celebrates Indian independence from the former British Empire. Tonight’s event is locally significant because it is the first time the Indian associations of both sides of the island are celebrating together.

Wescot-Williams is the current leader of the Democratic Party (DP) and one of the party’s candidates is businessman Sidarth “Cookie” Bijlani, a member of the IMA. Bijlani is candidate number 9 on the DP slate and a former member of the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry. All of the members of the association were invited. The event is co-sponsored by the IMA’s French side counterpart Association des Indiens de St. Martin (AISM). President of the Collectivité Aline Henson was also invited.

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