St. Maarten’s Day gets thumbs up review from ministers

POSTED: 11/17/11 4:11 AM

St. Maarten – Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams and Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Rhoda Arrindell have thanked the public for their participation in the St. Maarten’s Day celebration. They have also praised the organizing committee for their role in the event.
“Allow me again to also express my deep appreciation to St. Maarten in general for their participation, their enthusiasm that was shown on St. Maarten’s Day. A special thank you goes out to our minister – Minister Arrindell and her ministry – to the organizing committee. We all are quite pleased by the way that the population rallied behind the call to make St. Maarten Day 2011 a very special one, which indeed the people did,” Wescot-Williams said at Wednesday’s Council of Ministers press briefing.
“St. Maarten’s Day has come and gone and what a day it was. Let me start first by thanking the great creator for blessing us with such excellent weather and I must add that you, the people of our island made it a huge success, by coming out in large numbers, most of you in your national dress, with the St. Maarten flag either in your hand or flying on your vehicles. I cannot thank you enough. I am also most humbled that you heeded our call to make this year’s celebration one to remember. Indeed the 11/11/11 – St. Maarten’s Day 2011 was about the people, by the people and for all the people of our beloved island. Thank you St. Maarten,” Arrindell added later.
Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, who attended “quite of a few” of the events to make St. Maarten’s Day highlighted the open day at the Coast Guard but resisted the urge to “emphasize the way that people came out to the Festival Village.” There was also a word of thanks to businesses and entities that contributed to the St. Maarten’s Day celebration hosted by the Minister Plenipotentiary in The Hague.
“From all accounts that too was an enjoyable event in the Netherlands, celebrating St. Maarten Day. As far as I’m concerned, and again I make the call, it has not ended with St. Maarten’s Day. In my opinion it started the feeling of nationalism if you wish to call it that, the feeling of recognition of our country St. Maarten – our land – and I think that is something that should be ongoing year in, year out. But again I stress that St. Maarten’s Day was a good start in terms of how persons rallied behind that call,” the prime minister said.
Arrindell had a special thank you for the organizing committee and saluted the perseverance, courage and excellent organization that helped them face the “numerous challenges along the way.”
“You overcame it all with flying colors. I am most indebted to you. I am sure that St. Maarten is also proud of you,” the minister said.
There were also words of appreciation for the brothers and sisters from the North, the participating, groups, individuals and businesses, to all the producers, boothholders, media, school children, teachers, school managers and school boards.
“…showed us what coming together really means in the context of St. Maarten being one island, one people with one destiny. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. May we all uphold the true meaning of St. Maarten Day, not only on November 11, but on all the days of our lives,” Arrindell said.
Blemishes
Some do not give last week’s celebration a perfect score. For example the scouts have expressed their disappointment that they were not able to play a bigger role in the uniformed parade. Asked about that on Wednesday Arrindell said she understands the scout leaders are partially at fault for the diminished presence.
“When I read it – the scout’s letter to media (edi., -) – like everybody else and from my understanding and I got a detailed copy of an e-mail that explained it to one of the media houses on St. Maarten – It was that they were late in their registration and they were given the guidelines and even though they were late they promised the organizing committee they would get back to them with a final indication of whether or not they participated and they did not,” Arrindell said.
The minister was also confronted on Wednesday with complaints that the power outages caused by short circuits in GEBE’s grid had led to loss of business by the various booth holders.
“I was in the village both nights and the reactions I got were all positive in spite of the black out. All the booth holders I met and the organizers spoke to were not happy about the blackouts, but I did not hear any loss of business. I don’t know how much business they would have lost when you consider the nominal fee they paid to rent the booth, and from what I was told they got to finally make some money to pay some bills,” Arrindell said.
The minister was especially happy with Kaisorama 1 which reminded her of the old times of calypso elimination and finals.

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