This Monday, November 11, 2013 we will be celebrating St. Maarten Day on the Southern side of the island, on Dutch St. Maarten. It is always a privilege and honor to have our elected officials from both side of the island come together have lunch, make some beautiful speeches and then the next day business as usual. Over the last couple of years the government from both sides has added another dimension to the celebration, the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for this, that and the other. The next year, another signing but no significant changes as it pertain to the working together of the two governments.
Many years ago these celebrations include the people from both sides as they compete with each other for the November 11 football cup, the boat races, the swimming races from the A. C. Wathey Pier to the Captain Hodge wharf, running races around Philipsburg, zinc boat races in the Great Bay Salt Pond and so many more cultural activities. Those were the good old days. This reminds me of the calypso that King Stunky won the Calypso crown in 1984, namely; "Where have our culture gone"
It is a fact that we don't experience the great celebrations that existed many years ago and the people see this as just another day off from work and our students don't have to go school. Is this the price we paid and are still paying for this development?
The OSPP feels very strongly that St. Maarten day celebration should be one week of activities leading up to St. Maarten Day. Every evening there should be some type of activities organized by all the organizations within the various districts such as the community councils, the churches, the schools, the community police officers, the businesses and last but not the least the department of culture and community development within the government as the coordinators, Once activities are organized, the people of the districts would be in the mood and would get involved in all the celebrations on St. Maarten Day. This form of celebration should continue every year as it would include the people from all the districts and we will get the people involved and not just a day to stay home.
After that week of celebration in the various districts St. Maarten Day on November 11 will be celebrated by all the residents, bringing the people together, enhancing love for our country, encouraging our norms and values while bringing back our culture. St. Maarten is my home and I will not leave it to go nowhere else.