PHILIPSBURG – The annual wreath laying at the statue of the late Dr. A. Claude Wathey was held on Sunday, July 24, in commemoration of what would have been Wathey’s 90th birthday.
As is customary, representatives of the Democratic Party (DP) and the United People’s Party (UPP) laid wreaths along with Dr. Francio Guadeloupe of the University of St. Martin (USM), Valerie Giterson of the Claude Wathey Educational Foundation, and Wathey’s family members.
Supporters of both parties attended the brief ceremony, which was led by Erno Labega, the son of the other DP founder, the late Clem Labega.
Speaking briefly at the gathering were the 2 party leaders of the UPP and DP, respectively.
Party leader MP Sarah Wescot-Williams reminded the gathered crowd that every year “regardless to what the circumstances may have been, on July 24 we have always presented ourselves at the commemoration of Claude Wathey’s birthday.”
“With all of today’s challenges, the fact remains that this island has grown in leaps and bounds and that is in no small measure because of Claude’s contributions. That legacy can never be taken away from him or from the Democratic Party,” Wescot-Williams said.
The MP, in acknowledging that there is more that unites than what divides St. Maarten people, said, “for far too long we have been solely focusing on the division, but if we would focus on what unites us then we could make St. Maarten strong again.” The MP’s statement: “Make St. Maarten strong again,” alluded to the need to get all noses pointed in one direction.
MP Wescot-Williams closed with memories of the days of Claude and Clem, when things were simpler, and approaches were simple as well. “With the phenomenal growth the island has witnessed, current and future generations need to now take up the mantle with the same vigor and determination as those who have gone before us,” she concluded.