Toastmasters Table Topic-a-Thon with new political candidates


PHILIPSBURG – Soualiga Corporate Toastmasters Club on Wednesday, September 7, in the evening held a session with the new political candidates on the different party lists for the upcoming election.

The University of St. Martin (USM) was the venue for this event. The parties contesting the upcoming election had the opportunity to send a candidate on their list that will participate for the very first time in the election process.

The following parties were represented: Help Our People Excel (HOPE) Mercedes van der Waals-Wyatt; United St. Maarten Party (US) Early Charlemagne; Democratic Party (DP) Marvio Coocks; United Peoples Party (UP) Armand Meda and National Alliance (NA) in the person of René Violenus.

The evening started with the singing of the St. Maarten song. Soualiga Corporate Toastmasters Club President Tamara Groeneveldt introduced the candidates to the Toastmaster, and what it stands for.

“The Toastmaster is a club that train persons in the art of public speaking. An environment is created where the persons learn to become a better speaker and a leader in the community. The Soualiga Corporate Toastmaster Club is the club for civil servants. We meet the first and third Wednesday of the month at the A.C. Wathey Legislative Hall. Come join us if you want to learn and become a better speaker and a leader in the community,” Groeneveldt said.

Vice President Education Sanjana Manek introduced the rules of the Table Topic-A-Thon to the candidates. “You are allotted one minute to answer a question that will appear on the screen and the moderator will repeat the question for clarity. Because Toastmaster pays attention to time, we have a timer that will look into your use of the time allotted. There will be 3 rounds of questions,” Manek explained.

Moderator Joy Arnell then guided the candidates into the session. “You are required to answer the question asked. The question you got will be the question you will have to answer. There will be no rebuttal, and the questions are not of a political nature. Use your time wisely,” she instructed.

The evening progressed as the candidates did their best to answer questions like: “What is your favorite song? What was the most recent event where you laughed till your belly hurt? Explain the saying Aspire to Inspire Before we Expire,” just to name a few.

In the 3rd round, candidates were given the opportunity to sell their candidacy in 2 minutes. All the candidates did a good job and promoted themselves and their party well. “I can say that the evening was well spent and the public present had the opportunity to see the candidates speak on their feet. No speech was prepared and no debate was held. But rather we got to know these candidates a little better,” said Arnell.

President Groeneveldt thanked all for being present, and the candidates for their impromptu and natural participation. She invited persons who want to be part of the Toastmasters training process to get in contact with any one of the clubs here in St. Maarten.