Carnival Foundation “fires” 6 volunteers

POSTED: 05/11/15 5:33 PM

GREAT BAY – St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) fired six volunteers last week, days after the carnival season concluded.  According to one of the volunteers who asked to remain unknown, years ago, the volunteer started assisting the SCDF with the expectation to serve the community in what they called the islands biggest cultural festival. Six letters were sent personally to the volunteers stating that the foundation thanks them for their service however due to downsizing and restructuring of the board, the foundation can no longer allow them to be volunteers in the foundation.

Six members including a board member were sent the following dismissal letter, by President of the SCDF Michael Granger last week Thursday. “The Carnival foundation will be going through a new, restructured phase moving forward”. He continued “this new phase calls for a smaller group as they look to streamline our operations”.  On behalf of the board he informed that “the SCDF hereby inform you that you will no longer be expected to carry out any volunteer duties for the SCDF and we thank you for your service to the foundation. We appreciate your work with the foundation and wish you God’s blessing with all future endeavors”.

The volunteer told Today that the dismissal came as a complete surprise and shock to the group as they tirelessly worked to exercise their duties as volunteers. SCDF informed volunteers/members this year that the foundations structure will change.  This change will see An Executive Director appointed to handle the day to day operations of the foundation. Changes to the articles will be necessary for the creation of the executive director position; the foundation will also get an office the Festival village. Reports indicate that the Ministers of Tourism and Culture have not been formally informed about this major change.

Today contacted Granger for comment on the dismissal Sunday. Several questions were asked about the dismissals including if it is customary for the foundation to relieve board members/volunteers from the organization? Granger’s response to the  inquiry was “We are a private foundation, how we handle membership over our 46 year history is an internal affair.”

Despite being a private foundation, SCDF is subsidized annually by the government to the tune of some NAF 500,000. The foundation is also required to deliver annual accounts statements. The volunteer concluded by stating that they are disappointed by the move and by the manner in which the dismissal was done, “After all, we are volunteers”. This is Granger’s third term as president of the foundation. The organization articles state, the board is allowed two consecutive two-year terms, meaning Granger has one more year legally as president of the foundation which will end in 2016.

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