Three Questions, with author Ralph Cantave

Three Questions, with author Ralph Cantave

We asked young, local author Ralph Cantave three open-ended questions about his thoughts and hopes for the island. Cantave is best known for his journalism and radio work, his recently released book “Soualigan Tales: Steve Takes a Stand”, and previously released books “Words of Change: Voices from Soualigan Soil” and “21 & Savage”.

1: What is one of your favourite things about the island’s past?

I find the tranquillity and communal bond to be the most interesting phenomena of the island’s past. The harmony that St. Martin developed with nature and the environment is one of those aspects that must be studied. It’s my favourite element about the island’s history, especially because there are dozens of photos that showcase the raw beauty of this land, which made her similar to her sister Saba; an unspoiled queen. People simply knew where to build, how to build and most importantly the why.

The disregard for building near or on top of natural springs, filling of our wetlands, etc., is a price we’re currently paying for; but what if we were like the people of old who knew the value of maintaining the land? That respect and understanding is what solidified the confidence people had in themselves because they saw the land as part of them and not just as a commodity to be exploited. That perspective is what harvested the communal bond to the extent that persons slept with their doors unlocked, left their children with neighbours and freely ate from strangers. We were all one and that past model has to take root for a better tomorrow.

2: What is something you find interesting about the present?

What I find interesting about the present is that we’ve created a model society that is fitting for political, academic, cultural and economic leaders and groups to study. St. Martin is ripe for the global stage because of the harmony that exists in our land that can rarely be found anywhere else, and within the landmass we exist.

To have a free democracy, opportunities to launch an enterprise, a culinary and the cultural diversity in a peaceful state is a treasure. I have had the opportunity to visit other islands and countries, and there are basically none that can encourage me to leave this land. I also find it interesting that there is a wave of young professionals across various sectors who are willing and working to transform this island into what it deserves.

3: What is one hope you have for the future?

One hope I have for the future is for the island to flourish under sound, respectable and visionary leadership. Many of the challenges we face at present are caused by the lack of action or poor actions and decisions made without thought for this generation and others to come.

Haphazard approaches and reactionary measures are still the modus operandi of political leaders on St. Martin and that should no longer continue. So I am hoping for leaders who consider the needs of the masses, who listen to the ideas of citizens that aren’t aligned with them politically, and provide equal and adequate opportunities for people to progress.

In essence, my hope is to see a St. Martin that is not dependent on favours of politicians – a St. Martin that is self-reliant, where leaders equip others to lead, and a nation progressing through the wholesome development of its people.

The Daily Herald

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