PHILIPSBURG:--- Member of Parliament Maurice Lake would like to see the University become our National University and for Government and the Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the SHTA and the entire community to support their regular classes and culture classes.
When I heard the University was offering to the general public classes about our own culture and history, I said that this is a great opportunity for Government and the Chamber of Commerce to assist the University by sending our civil servants in the Hospitality field, Ambassadors of our island and representatives of the business community to such a course to enhance our hospitality product and to better promote culture of our beautiful island.
We just had the Minister of Economics Affairs informing the public about 450 plus directors licenses that were given out during her term. The question is why Government doesn’t change the policy to include that before giving these licenses/ permits that the directors also need to take a course about our own culture and history of St. Maarten. With such a policy, it can only improve our service and promote our culture and the slogan of "many nationalities, one people and one culture" would hold true. And by taking such a course will avoid some of these persons to pay more interest and contribute more to the island instead of just looking at it as a cash cow.
As St. Maarten’s Day is approaching I think it’s high time we start teaching and educating our people about our history and culture. To know our destiny and to work towards Independence as a nation, we have to know our history, culture to move our nation forward. We have to start educating ourselves and our children and grandchildren about our culture. St. Maarten has a rich culture but we have to take pride in promoting it within our community and start naming our roundabouts and landmarks after our local heroes and heroines. It's simply amazing how we let others teach us our culture and explore our natural resources, lagoon and local bird sights as island tours which is rich in history and have a true story of St. Maarten back in the days.
When are we going to stop taking our history and culture for granted and start making this course part of our elementary school curriculum?
You will be amazed how some of our people don't know our history and what is our national symbols and landmarks of our beautiful island. A lot of our visitors are not coming just for sun, sea and sand, they want to hear our story, taste our food and experience our culture, people, music and local adventurous tours and natural nature spots.
In closing, we have to support our University history and culture classes and it has to start with us promoting and teaching it in our elementary schools up to our University level.
My generation (including myself) needs to step up to the plate and pass on our culture which our parents and ancestors did to us but we need to pass it on to our children and grandchildren.
The University Board and Management needs to step up and sit with Government seriously to make our University a national University by increasing their subsidy to 3 million guilders on the draft budget 2017. We need educational reform so we can get back our return on investments within our educational system.
It hurts my heart to hear the young people saying we don't have a culture. We all have a role to play in promoting our culture but Government has to take the lead and encourage the Chamber of Commerce and SHTA to promote it within the business community and to our tourism ambassadors taking a yearly class at the University to refresh to tell our unique story to our visitors and guests.
St. Maarten/ St. Martin are a unique island with a rich history and culture as one people. Nowhere in the world will you get such a blessed destination like our beautiful island.