PHILIPSBURG:--- Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs, Silveria Jacobs; Minister of Education Culture Youth and Sport (ECYS), Drs. Rodolphe Samuel; along with the Head of the Department of Culture Ms. Clara Reyes took to the floor of Parliament. Also present was the owner of the Flag and project coordinator of House Nehesi, Mr. Lasana M. Sekou; Conscious Lyrics founder Mr. Shujah Reiph; author Mr. Fabian Badejo; and Dr. Rhoda Arrindell to present the importance of the St. Martin Unity Flag.
The Prime Minister, in her opening remarks, established that despite the political separation, the two national communities have continued to live in peace and harmony, cemented by strong social and familial ties. Prime Minister Jacobs confirmed that after deliberations with her French counterparts and their respective councils, together with the culture ministers, she and the President of the Collectivité of St. Martin have agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding on St. Martin Day to, “use the St. Martin Unity Flag as a joint cultural symbol of the affirmation of the unity and identity of the people of our island.”
The Minister of ECYS, Drs. Rodolphe Samuel further supported the Prime Minister’s sentiments by confirming that the island’s strong familial ties have been a long-standing tradition. Although it was established long before the Treaty of Concordia was signed on March 23rd, 1648, the signing only further cemented our union.
Mr. Lasana M. Sekou, the owner of the flag, author, and historian, was scheduled to formally present his exhibition on the Floor of Parliament. As the formality of the public meeting of Parliament was dropped, Mr. Sekou, as a term of endearment, referred to the session and/or informal meeting as the “Gathering,” and claimed that similar gatherings were held when our ancestors discussed such matters or to share information.
Mr. Sekou provided a riveting presentation on how the St. Martin Unity flag came to be. He also provided a detailed explanation for why and how every symbol and color reflected on the flag was chosen for those who chose to be in attendance for such a momentous occasion. He stressed the importance of the flag finally being used as a cultural symbol after the people have been doing so for such a long time. He referred to this “groundswell” connecting us as a people, that today governments on both sides choose to reflect that in the decision to use it as a symbol of the people.
The governments of both sides of the island hope that the utilization of the St. Martin Unity Flag will only lead to a deeper sense of pride by deepening and expanding on our shared cultural history, under the theme of unity, a motivation for further experimentation, innovation, and development.