Opinion: Honoring our own

POSTED: 01/2/14 1:03 AM

In ending, as we have traditionally done during our State of the Nation address, we have nominated Persons of the Year for 2013.

This year, however, we have taken a different approach. Instead of focusing on individual persons, we felt this year a number of groups deserve special recognition.

Consequently, we have nominated the following groups: A cultural group, a writer’s group, and an entrepreneurial group.

All the members of these groups have the following in common:

They all, in their own way, preserve elements of our cultural-heritage and traditions and have done that with dedication and love for country. One group is comprised of a number of Down Street residents and home owners.

For years, this part of Great Bay has been languishing under neglect and under an un-deserved poor reputation. Consequently, that area was left out of the Great Bay tourist itinerary and development.

We are proud to recognize the initiative of this association, which is transforming Down Street, Great-Bay in a most unique, local tourist-attraction with enormous potential. In order not to forget any of the many people involved, we kindly request Mr. Gregory Arrindell to convey our congratulatory message to all the members of the associations.

Another group comprises of a number of local, native writers, who regularly share their views via letters to the editor with the population at large. They do such without fear of identifying themselves.

Through their very informative articles, which deal with very critical and sensitive issues, they in fact serve as a moral conscience of the St. Martin community. We recognize and recommend among others, Russell Simmons, Todd Peterson, and Michel Hodge for their invaluable and consistent contribution to our nation.

Finally, the newest group – let’s call them the ‘Retrievers’ of the old-time, traditional SXM Christmas serenade. What they have done goes beyond words. While, many St. Martiners had given up the thought, that they would be allowed to celebrate their old-time way of serenading, this group spontaneously came together and decided to simply reclaim this part of our cultural-heritage and identity.

It caught on like a ‘wild-fire’ and has become a rallying-cry for St. Martiners to reclaim other aspects of their heritage. The lesson to be learned moving forward, is that if we could reclaim our serenading tradition in grand-style based on share determination, all our other lost rights, values that defined us as a people, can also be reclaimed.

And we might be very surprised, that if we do that, others will ask us, ‘What took you St. Martiners so long to reclaim your country’.

And with that fellow St. Martiners, on behalf of the St. Martin grassroots people movement, I thank you for listening and wish you, your loved ones a very Blessed New Year 2014.

May God bless us all.

Leopold James


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