PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - As the Carnival Season quickly approaches with jump-ups, pageants, calypso eliminations and parades ahead of the opening of the village, I wish my fellow St. Maarteners and visitors alike, much fun and enjoyment of the cultural celebrations St. Maarten has to offer. Do enjoy the local cuisine, music and revelry, and in everything you do this Carnival season, do it responsibly. I encourage you to not use this time to deal with a petty feuds or create scenes. Instead, build relationships and support our artists as they get the opportunity to showcase their varied talents. Go out of your way to welcome our visitors and show them a good time, in true St. Maarten style.
To the parents,
Keep your children close during the jump-ups and parades, and ensure they attend age appropriate events. We are a community and we need to come together and be the village that raises the child. As Minister of Youth, I believe we must ensure our youth are not over exposed to nor engage in the excesses associated with alcohol consumption, and sexually suggestive conduct, which seems to be accepted as the norm. Many youth do as they see rather than what they are told, therefore we must lead by example and display behavior we can be proud of down the line for generations to come.
As parents we must also set limits for our children and enforce them. Ensure that your children respect themselves and the laws put in place to protect. They must also be taught to respect others including those who were entrusted with the task of enforcing and upholding the laws for a safe and prosperous community.
In this also, we, as adults, must lead by example. Do not encourage drinking and negative behavior in our youth. Make sure your children attend school regularly during this time and keep up with school assignments and responsibilities as well; that should be your and their first priority.
To the youth,
Enjoy the activities that are being organized for you. In due time, your time for adult activities will come. There is no rush. With adult activities, come adult responsibilities. Do not give in to the peer or adult pressure to drink or engage in other acts you know are inappropriate, as a decision made today, can have serious or negative effects on you for the rest of your life.
I encourage youth participation in cultural events like calypso & soca shows, pageants, as well as Youth Extravaganza and junior/teen parades during this season. This fun is especially for you.
We, the revelers, spectators and carnival lovers of St. Maarten must determine what our greatest cultural festival should portray. We should celebrate St. Maarten’s culture, music, artistry and creativity in a safe and fun way for the entire family to enjoy.
This carnival season, I look forward to great entertainment, inspired creativity, enticing cuisine and all around togetherness and fun. I encourage all carnival lovers, spectators and participants to be safe and to enjoy the festivities responsibly.
You can only experience life, once you’ve experienced a St. Maarten Carnival, so come Experience Life with St. Maarten Carnival 2017.