Reid’s specter hangs over foundation launch

POSTED: 09/19/11 1:34 PM

St. Maarten – President of the Voice of our Children Foundation Charmaine Olivaccee paid tribute to the 13-year-old Tiffany Reid at the foundation’s official launch at the Philipsburg Jubilee on Saturday. The teen will be laid to rest today, 11 days after her burnt remains were found in a ditch on Pumpkin Road. Her father, R.R., who is the prime suspect in her murder, remains in pretrial detention.

“We don’t want these deaths in the midst of our country. We’re trying our best to save our children. It’s just about the children. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. Let’s get together and hold hands for the children,” Olivaccee said

“This 13-year-old did not ask to die in that way. She did not come into the world by herself. She was brought into this world by parents. Let us just try to save one,” the foundation president added.

Voice of our Children Foundation was formed to give young people a forum to express their views and to develop themselves. The two staple activities will be a weekly radio program on PJD2 that will run from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and the first news program anchored by young people. The foundation also plans to organize clean ups, spelling bees, talent shows, after school parties and to recognize young people who have travelled to represent the island in regional and international competitions.

Fifteen year old Nadia Diaz who is part of the foundation hopes to be an inspiration by participating in the foundation’s activities and asked for support from her elders.

“We need encouragement from the elders and we aim to enforce a more positive generation,” Diaz said.

Luis Hurtault, another young person in the foundation added, “We must prepare for the future by being part of positive projects, such as this foundation. We must show young and old that we have vision and nothing will happen if we don’t try.”

United People’s Party faction leader Romain Laville considers the foundation’s radio program a successor to Loud ‘n Lovin it which was initiated by the team behind Teen Times.

“That has gone and this takes its place. I hope this organization becomes the light of St. Maarten. Let’s stay behind these kids and push them,” Laville said.

Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Rhoda Arrindell has pledged to do all she can to support the foundation. She also applauded the fact that many parents and children attended the launch together.

“I think you have found a recipe for parental involvement that can be passed on. We need more activities for the family that parents and children can do together. I just want you guys to know that the entire ministry’s support is behind you,” Arrindell said.

Director of the Philipsburg Jubilee Library Monique Alberts said they also whole heartedly support the new organization.

“We talk a lot about the children, but we don’t hear from them very often,” Alberts said.

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