Online course participant speaks on National Development Plan – Davis: Make yourselves be heard

POSTED: 09/3/13 2:03 PM

St. Maarten – “The prime minister has thrown down a friendly challenge to ensure that everyone is involved in the development of the nation and to take part in what we are called to do. Make yourselves be heard,” Rodney Davis, participant in the Democratic Dialogue Online Course, said during a radio interview with Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams last week.

Davis is a participant in the United Nations Coordinated Course, which will train members of the community of St. Maarten, from various backgrounds and social standings, to engage in democratic dialogue to bring the population into the process of developing St. Maarten into the nation they would like to see.

“In order to equip the persons with the necessary skills in the community we have made available an online, virtual course for these persons to be able to take part in. Like I mentioned this course will equip individuals to take part in the process necessary to ensure that everyone is included in the steps being taken to draft the national development plan. The interest in the course has been overwhelming and I am further encouraging the community to think about the future of St. Maarten and the need to be involved and interested in what needs to happen to St. Maarten and to be a part of that social, democratic dialogue,” the prime minister stated.

Davis reiterated the PM’s call for all to be involved in the process; “We have always talked about the people of St. Maarten getting involved. We cannot stand aside and not rise to the challenge. For me it was a matter of taking the opportunity to respond to that challenge. The people of St. Maarten should be involved in this dialogue. It is extremely important that we present ourselves and be involved. What the prime minister is saying is correct; the opportunity is there for everyone to be involved. The call was there and I responded and we need to get everyone involved in the same way. Provisions have been made to ensure that we are in a safe place for everyone to express their views and also have open dialogue. It is about communication and letting our minds unfold and not be fearful of repercussions or people labeling you. It involves us actually ensuring that every voice is heard. I would like to reiterate everyone to join with the prime minister; the efforts are genuine, I have seen it,” Davis said.

“We cannot talk about sustainability if not everyone is talking about the process. We all have a stake in the future and we have children that will inherit this island. Get involved. The work group will be reaching out to the community for everyone to be involved. It does not matter where you are; everyone will have the opportunity to have his or her voice be heard,” he added.

The prime minister also commented that some very important elements are being raised with regards to inclusion of all in society. “There are numerous groups within our society. Some have different opinions and in some these differences are very pronounced. You also have groups where there is a sort of apathy regarding society where people just go about their personal lives with disregard for the community in which they live. Some people continuously knock heads and some people really don’t care. We do have certain elements of these attitudes; differing opinions on various matters. Within that environment we need to bring the people of St. Maarten together and bring them into the process.  We need to create that ownership and ensure that when we, the policy makers, will be going in the streets and talking about the people, the people’s voices can be clearly heard.”


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