Locals and diaspora unite against new St. Maarten anthemPOSTED: 10/18/11 12:20 PM
St. Maarten – A Facebook page – Make the St. Maarten Song the national anthem of St. Maarten – and a petition site have been launched to protest a competition announced by the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Rhoda Arrindell to come to a new anthem and new flag. The prizes for the competition add up to 18, 000 guilders but both the Facebook page and the petition call for parliament to approve the use of the St. Maarten song as the country’s national anthem.
The setup of the page and the start of the petition are the first formal actions in response to a groundswell of criticism of the minister’s announcement. The Facebook page went live on October 12. By press time it had 104 fans. The petition, which is being hosted at apps.facebook.com/petitions/2/keep-our-national-antem, had been signed by 48 people up to press time. The goal is to get 500 signatures on the petition.
Some of the people who signed the petition also left comments chiding the minister’s decision to initiate the competition.
President of the St. Maarten Pride Foundation Jadira Veen was equally “pissed” that the drop down for country still showed Netherlands Antilles and that the idea had been tabled to make something other than the St. Maarten song the country’s national anthem.
“Government needs to focus on much more important things than the anthem. This is one of the last bits of history that we have left over, unlike the salt pond. Don’t take this away as well,” Mercedes Brown who lives in the Netherlands stated.
Lyanne Beaujon who lives in Aruba stated, “Keep our anthem please.”
Angela Boon who the petition listed as living in the Netherlands Antilles added, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, even more so when it is a beautiful song that touches hearts.”
Judith Peterson who is also living in the Netherlands Antilles added, “Please do not change this anthem. I wish that our sweet St. Martin had remained just as it was in the days that this song was composed. We were all safe and secure then.”
Judith van der Sar who signed from the United Kingdom stated, “It is made by somebody from St. Maarten/St. Martin. Why change the words? This is it. You cannot describe it better as it is.”
The group of community activists and organizations behind the Facebook page has also used Blackberry Messenger to spread their message. They state that the goal is to send the parliament a “loud and clear message – “We want parliament to make “Oh Sweet St. Maarten land” the national anthem.”