Nation Building foundation names Billy D Hamlet its person of 2011

POSTED: 01/3/12 4:05 PM

St. Maarten – Leopold James’ St. Maarten Nation Building foundation /L’Esprit de Concordia has named SOS Radio host Jacques “Billy D” Hamlet its person of the year. On the shortlist with five names, Hamlet is followed by HIV/Aids program manager Suzette Moses-Burton, Seaside Nature Park’s Roderick Halley, pro-gun advocate Peter Gunn and social volunteer Maria Chemont.

On his web site, James says that the election is based on feedback from the public, the consistency of a candidate’s message, the candidate’s unique manner of contribution towards the St. Martin nation building and unification process and the candidate’s courage “to speak out about sensitive issues that must be addressed to advance and improve our country.”

All five candidates will be offered a St. Maarten cultural ID-card.

James picked Billy D Hamlet as his top candidate this year because “there was simply no way getting around him.” James lauds Hamlet for transforming radio into a real family and community affair. “He is in touch with the pulse of the nation and he is certainly not afraid to express what he thinks and feels,” James wrote in an elucidation on Hamlet’s election.

Billy D, of course, also offers a platform on SOS Radio for others who have their own radio program. James commends Billy d for “his ability to combine his unconditional love for St. Maarten/St. Martin and its native, indigenous people with loving all people, regardless where they are from.”

The number two on James’ list, HIV/Aids program manager Suzette Moses-Burton, is cited as someone who “dedicated herself in a very exemplary and admirable manner to the cause of ultimately eradicating the dreaded disease of Aids.” Also, James notes, “Suzette has contributed towards restoring a sense of humanity towards the many persons afflicted with the disease as well as to the difficult circumstances their family and friends have to cope with.”

Seaside Nature Park’s Roderick Halley is the number three on this year’s top-five. He is, James notes, “one rugged, natural, cowboy-like, grassroots St. Martin individual, whose heritage is deeply rooted in this island’s history.” The creation of the nature park in St. Maarten’s concrete jungle is the achievement that earned Halley his third place. “He is an example and role-model for many other native St. Martiners, to transform our traditions to be able to create a unique niche, blending tourism with the preservation of our cultural heritage.”

James’ number four is Peter Gunn, then outspoken pro-gun activist. “Peter has contributed significantly to the growing realization that the level of uncontrolled immigration has resulted indirectly in the import of social poverty, ghetto-type behavior and to violent crimes affecting our very social fabric as a nation, transforming it to a welfare-state in the process.”

Maria Chemont completes James’ top five for 2011. He describes her as “a spiritual person, a passionate motivator, and a social volunteer.”

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