From left: Denzel Richardson, Plenipotentiary Minister Rene Violenus, Lysanne Charles and Lisandro Suriel.
PHILIPSBURG--Four St. Maarteners were recognised for their outstanding contributions during a ceremony hosted by the cabinet of Minister Plenipotentiary Rene Violenus in commemoration of St. Maarten Day, observed on November 11.
Honoured were Denzel Richardson and Dudley Leonora for their contributions in the area of sports; Lysanne Charles for her contributions in the field of research and Lisandro Suriel for the field of digital arts and photography. Suriel’s work was showcased during the event and the pieces on display were said to have been a clear representation of ancestors in their natural state and grace.
Violenus said the four persons who were recognised exemplify the true St. Maarten spirit and are making their mark in their areas of expertise. “For that we are more than thankful and proud,” he said during remarks at the event.
The ceremony was one of two activities coordinated by Violenus’ cabinet to commemorate St. Maarten Day.
A luncheon was also held for seniors of St. Maarten descent. During the luncheon, memories of St. Maarten in the olden days was shared.
The ceremony in which the four were honoured was held during an evening reception centred around this year’s St. Maarten Day theme “Standing Triumphant, even in the face of adversity.”
Members of the Second Chamber, representatives of different countries, along with representatives of the various St. Maarten organisations in the Netherlands were amongst those in attendance.
The representative of the French Embassy, Colonel Christian Bachmann, spoke of the relationship between St. Maarten and St. Martin over the decades and the joint corporation in moments of adversity during his congratulatory remarks.
Director-General of the Ministry of Kingdom Affairs Henk Brons spoke about the relationship with St. Maarten in the Kingdom. He expressed the hope that this relationship, even though strained at times, would mature into a stronger bond for the sake of both countries and its people.
In his address Violenus said the theme is a reminder that, now more than ever, the challenges and setbacks that St. Maarten as a small island has overcome, particularly in the recent past.
“It is also important for us to recognise that this resilience is a model that is in keeping with Caribbean traditions even prior to European contact,” he said.
“…Through our encounters and experiences with adversity, primarily hurricanes, droughts, and flooding, we the people of St. Maarten have always found the strength to rise once more. Our resilience has been tested, time and time again, through natural disasters, economic hardships, personal setbacks and many other forms of difficulty. Every setback has tested our resolve, yet today we still stand in triumph in the face of calamity. This is part of our DNA, a core part of who we are.”
He continued: “As a people, we have learned to work interdependently to contract/process whatever comes our way and not be defeated. We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors, whose legacies have instilled in us a mentality of pushing through and never giving up in defeat.”
As the country confronts the impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic, difficult choices had to be made to ensure the survival of the country and its people. “We have again had to use the knowledge we’ve amassed across centuries to surmount the trials and move forward. Adversity still knocks at our door, but we remain positive and find ways to cope,” Violenus said.