As a Community spirited person, I saw a headline in your newspaper dated April 28th, 2018 that got my full attention which stated 24 Royal Decorations, none from St. Maarten. In the article the main reason no-one from St. Maarten was nominated for a Royal Decorations had to do with the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma in September and therefore the lengthy applications process that has to be filled in by the Royal Decorations Committee before October.
Mr. Editor, I had a hard time trying to understand why our local Royal Committee chose for some odd reason not to send up any of their nominations which should have been done and vetted before Hurricane Irma. I think there needs to be more publicity carried out by our local Royal Decorations Committee on how anyone can recommend and complete an application to nominate somebody who has contributed to their community and island for a royal decoration. The Committee then can make sure all relevant information is factual, screen and vet the potential honoree’s credibility and then send in the application to the Governor who forwards to the Kingdom Committee. I also would like to recommend that our local Royal Committee give out the application forms to all the different Community centers, public library and other easy access points where the average person has access to the forms.
I also would advise the Royal Decoration Committee to put the names of all past honorees with a text of why they have been recognized in our local museum or library for student projects and the community at large to get familiar with their local heroes and heroines. This will also teach our young people how to honor and recognize our own leaders and people who have contributed to our beautiful island in some form or fashion.
Mr. Editor, as an Educator, I give my students a research assignment to write a brief report about their favorite Leader or Manager. To my surprise, none of the 14 students could mention a Leader or Manager from St. Maarten. The main reason is that they didn't select our leaders because there is not much written data in the public library about our leaders, and secondly, they are too busy to be interviewed.
St. Maarten has a lot of persons who have given so much to their community and island which still go unrecognized today. When I think about within my own family, especially my father Gordon Morris Lake, better known as “Mooch,” I can write a book about him being the best diver, the best fisherman in the Caribbean who has represented St. Maarten for several decades in tournaments all over the world.
He has won swimming races to Anguilla seven times; he was a great soccer player and was the chauffeur for five Lt. Governors of St. Maarten. He has given back so much to the St. Maarten community out of a good heart.
Another person in which I am very proud of is my brother, Tony Lake who is the only St. Maartener to be inducted into New Hampshire School of Tennis Hall of Fame in the United States. You know what it is to be inducted into a New Hampshire School of Tennis Hall of Fame in another country, but it goes unrecognized in your own island.
Other local unsung heroes are Rafael Skeete, Marco London, Aston Lake, Jerry Morris, Marcia Cooke and many more too numerous to mention.
In closing, I wish our local Royal Decorations Committee much success and I hope they take some of my recommendations and points into consideration for this year. Applications of honorees and getting the community more involved by making the application forms more accessible for the average person would lead to a more exciting and transparent process.