Albert Claudius Wathey is rightly considered the Father of the Nation by many in Sint Maarten. He was also the co founder of the Democratic Party of Sint Maarten (DP). Not too long ago, however, the current government, of which the DP is a coalition partner, revealed that it wants to demolish the old government administration building. In its place, it would put up a 4 storey parking lot and transform the post office building into the new Parliament of Sint Maarten. I find this a shortsighted, wasteful, even tragic decision, for many reasons. Would the United States demolish the White House just because it’s an old building in a modern era? No, because they treasure their heritage and identity. So why are we so quick to destroy ours? But that is another debate for another day.
What I would like to ask the DP is what they intend to do once the A C Wathey Legislative Hall is torn down. Will that be it? Are we to just tear down a piece of our history and heritage, leaving it without a trace? Or does the DP plan to name the legislative hall in the new parliament the A C Wathey Legislative Hall?
And what is to become of the statue of A C Wathey once the old building is torn down? Will the DP fight to have it relocated to somewhere befitting the Father of the Nation? Perhaps around the new parliament building at some point in the future?
Or will the DP stand by quietly as a coalition partner in government and let a piece of Sint Maarten heritage and history fade away as if it meant nothing? I’m sure there are a few out there who would be pleased with that. But a few should not get to decide what a nation’s history is and what it is not just for the sake of it.
Please let us know.