Leona Marlin chairs new Monument Council – Restoration funds available for Passangrahan and Guavaberry Emporium

POSTED: 03/22/13 1:53 PM
Guavaberry Emporium
The characteristic building of Guava berry Emporium on Front Street. Photo Today / Hilbert Haar

St. Maarten – Soft loans have been secured for the restoration of two of St. Maarten’s prized monuments: the Passangrahan Royal Guest House and Guava berry emporium, located close to each other on Front Street. Culture Minister Silveria Jacobs announced the news yesterday during a central committee meeting where she presented the seven candidates for the Monument Council.

Today the parliament will confirm the nominees for the council. Its chair will be civil servant Leona Marlin; the other members are Danae Daal, Alphonso Blijden, Patricia Arrindell, Nick van der Ree, Marla Chemont and Antonio Jocelyn Arndel. The members are appointed for a 4-year term against a remuneration of 75 guilders per hour for meetings they attend with a maximum of 2,000 guilders per month. The maximum annual costs for Monument Council meetings will therefore be 168,000 guilders, or approximately $93,850.

The Monument Council has been dormant for years because consecutive governments did not reappoint the incumbent board members or appoint new ones. Minister Jacobs said yesterday that she had picked up the issue and that her proposal was ready on September 19 of last year. “But then several people wanted additional legal advice and that took several months,” she explained the delay. “For me this has been a frustrating experience,” the minister illustrated her eagerness to get the Monument Council back on the road.

The board members have been appointed based on their expertise in one or more fields that are required for membership of the council.

The central committee members did not have much to say in terms of criticism, other than asking why museum director Elsje Bosch, who was a member of the former council, had not been reappointed. The minister answered that Bosch thought it time for younger people to take her place, but she is still involved with the Cultural Development Foundation.

Jacobs said that there is 350,000 guilders budgeted for monument-maintenance. She also indicated that, while currently only the salt pans have been designated as monument, she will push for declaring the entire Great Salt Pond a monument in the future.


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