Minister Jacobs: “Don’t dismiss the importance of hard work”

POSTED: 11/13/12 12:44 PM

St. Maarten (DCOMM) – Minister of Education, Culture, Youth Sports Silveria Jacobs addressed the meaning of St. Maarten Day and what it symbolizes for St. Maarteners in her St. Maarten Day address.

“St. Maarten Day is a very personal day for many St. Maarteners including me because apart from any other day in the year, it symbolizes the socio- cultural unification of a strong and resilient people.

“The obelisk–shaped monument at the frontier in Cole Bay is the symbol of unity that has been reminding us for the past 64 years of our cultural unity. The gale does not stop at the border nor does our culture.

“St. Maarten Day is the one day in the year when the people consciously tend not to emphasize the official political division, rather the socio – cultural unification is amplified and reverberated from Pic Paradis to Century Hill, to Fort William Hill to Naked Boy Hill and Rice Hill.

“The monument at the frontier, as simple as it may look makes a very clear statement not in French, Dutch or English, but in a subtle symbolic way that stands erect and in a proud upright position that exuberates the friendly and warm hospitality of the native St. Maarten people.

“I am reminded of the keynote address given on the second Anniversary of the Southern side on October 10, 2012 after becoming a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands by Pastor Young at the Saint Simon and Jude Anglican church entitled:

“The importance of landmarks should not be underestimated. I respect, honor and esteem the invaluable values and wisdom our ancestors have left behind which we so proudly called our heritage. This property that we are standing on this morning is very symbolic for many reasons. One aspect of this plantation I would like to highlight with your permission is the intense labor that went into the construction of the slave walls.

“I am quoting from an article written by the head of the Department of Culture Mr. Neville York five years ago about this same subject. The slave walls that you see around the outskirts of this plantation “is symbolic to the interlocking of the humblest of man to the most sophisticated man is a small knitted community of St. Maarten. Despite being ravished by many hurricanes and earthquakes for centuries, today the slave walls are still rooted in the soil from which they sprung and speak volumes in their indivisible solitude. They conceal symbolic mysteries of a people, proclaiming triumph and victory in the face of adversity.”

“Obscure to the naked eye are the individual rocks in the center and behind the slave walls. They remind us of the intricate nature of the cultural fabric of current day St. Maarten. To the casual observer it may not be clear who and how everything is related to each other, but like the rocks, the St. Maarten Culture exists! It lives! It needs to be understood and it must be brought to the forefront of national development.

“The rocks can become unraveled, and when they do, the walls weaken. They may work at cross-purposes and, as result, the walls may become fragile. The small knitted community of St. Maarten (French Quarter) can also be unraveled, especially when segments within the community work at cross–purposes. This must be avoided by all means. Like the closely webbed rocks, the St. Maarten community must foster and encourage close civic interaction between the communities.

“The green hill tops, turquoise waters and sandy beaches are part of our natural and cultural heritage. For this reason, these natural assets “Ancient Land Marks” must be guarded like a mother guards and nurtures her child. By protecting the slave walls we are in essence shielding our hills from erosion, our lagoons and ocean from runoff water and maintaining clearly defined land boundaries. Spiritually and physically the slave walls are catalytic in the restoration and preservation of our patrimony.”

The  minister ended her address with a series of don’t dismiss: “Don’t dismiss the older person’s ideas because you went to College, your grandmother’s teachings because she’s from a different generation, the idea of jollification, the importance of hard work, the notion of giving, particularly in times when you have the least, the idea of greeting someone when you pass them, the idea of being your brother and sister’s keeper; and most of all don’t dismiss the idea of fearing and loving God.”

“Let this be the beginning of revitalizing our forefather’s core cultural values. Let us strive to get to the level when you and I can honestly look each other in the eye and say I am your rock, I got your back,” Minister Jacobs concluded.


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