Open letter by Theo Heyliger

POSTED: 11/4/13 2:59 AM

Dear Hon. Ministers Lourens and Lake,

St.Maarten’s youth are very talented. This is very evident from the numerous cultural and artistic expression events they have taken part in and developed over the years. They display true artistic skill, creativity and the ability to tell our country’s diverse story in dance, music, drama, poetry and free association.

The arts are languages that all people speak. They cut across racial, cultural, social, educational, and economic barriers and enhance cultural appreciation and awareness. The arts can be credited with the improvement of youngsters academically. Involvement in the arts has led to enhancement of test scores, attitudes, social skills, critical and creative thinking.

Our youngsters with the little they have materially together with their vast talent have carved out a name for St.Maarten in the performing and creative arts. St.Maarten is known from the Broadway stage in New York City, the famed Apollo Theatre to the cultural festival in Europe and further a field.

Our young people can do much more with structural support for their artistic talents, academic development and overall well being through the establishment of a much needed “ St.Maarten Centre for the Arts” This centre should have programmes to cover all creative arts alive and practised in our country.

The Centre for the Arts could also be a place for our cultural history of the Ponum Dance, string band music of Tanny and the Boys, Dow’s ebony orchestra and Carnival expressions can be nurtured and kept vibrant for the future.

The time has come for a true investment to be made for all the arts related organizations that endeavour to uplift and preserve the arts on St.Maarten. Therefore the time has come for the country to make a considerable investment in this area

As Ministers with the respective Ministries of Culture and Vromi.

I would like to see steps taken in the coming weeks where a workgroup; the “Sint Maarten Center for the Arts Workgroup” is established possibly  comprising of Clara Reyes, Nicole de Weever, Lasana Sekou, Rodney Davis, Mike Granger, Okama Brook, Max Phelipa, Ruby Bute, Connis Vanterpool and Dow just to name a few; who would be tasked with developing a paper regarding the aforementioned Center of the Arts.

Vromi must assist in the planning, location of property, parking and the relevant personnel to design a state of the art center. One that should be architectural gem.

Hon. Ministers, I look forward to hearing from you with respect to this forward looking national development for our country.

The Workgroup should be in place by November 20, 2013.

Once the workgroup has made its ideas known, then a design firm should be appointed to design a facility that St.Maarten can be proud of.

It is my intention to propose legislation( Universal Service Fund ) to help finance not only the construction of this facility but also the ability to subsidize the organizations that will use it.

Thanking you in advance for your attention and cooperation.

Yours sincerely,

Theo Heyliger

United People Party Leader.




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