Minister of ECYS Mr Wycliffe Smith  shows positive support toward SXM Agricultural Research and Development Center

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Philipsburg – On Sept 3, 2018, the Minister of ECYS honorable Mr. Smith  took some time out of his busy schedule to visit the Agricultural Research and Development Center in St Peters . The St. Peters Emergency Organization Group (SPEOG) held a meeting on Friday August 31, 2018 at the Rupert I Maynard Community center, in St. Peters, which invited the general public of the community to come out in share their views and opinions on there plans on how to best approach emergencies in hurricane pre-and post situations.

The Hon. Minister Smith was present at the meeting to hear a bit more about the organizations plans for the community of St. Peters. During this community meeting board members of the SPEOG suggested to minister Smith that he should take some time out to visit Mr. Wyatte at the S X M Agricultural Research and Development center, to hear a bit more about the pending land situation thats hampering their Community leaders and organizations from executing their community objectives. Same evening, Minister Smith reached out to Mr. Wyatte with interest of visiting the center the following day, Sat Sept 1, 2018, to learn a bit more about its struggles and activities on livelihood it brings to the St. Peter’s community.

During his visit the at the Center Minister Smith got a chance to gather a bit more information about the center, its programs and its activities on community recovery and development, educational implementation, skill development, cultural and heritage,  leadership and capacity building amounts community members, socially interactive outreach, waste management ideas,  backyard gardening projects, district based tourism  and the impact Agriculture may have on revitalizing St. Maarten’s ECO-Tourism footprint.

The Minister also got a better chance to learn a bit more about the situation surrounding the land issue between Mr. Wyatte and the Minister of VROMI honorable Mr Giterson.

Minister Smith expressed to Wyatte that he was also very intrigued to visit the center and was glad they met briefly the other evening and he was able to come and see the project first hand on such short notice.

’’I must say Wyatte, i am very impressed of your education and persistence, you have been doing a great job and I truly don’t understand why there would be so much trouble to support a project like this’’  Minister Smith explained.

Wyatte also took sometime to explain to the minister the importance of having an Agricultural Center and why its so important especially if it leads toward Implementation in our educational system and school curriculum. The benefits it may add to the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) and its overall components such as Education, Employment, Livelihoods, Social Protection, Waste Management, Food Security, Health, Tourism , Finances, Hurricane Preparation \ Recovery and Community Recovery and Resilience.

‘’We have to reteach and revitalize the culture and Heritage values in our youth which is the next generation to come so did can carry on the same standards and principles towards safeguarding our national culture while being proud of the place they call St Maarten.’’ Wyatte Explained to Minister Smith.

Minister Smith was also notified that The St. Maarten Agricultural Research and Development Center  is scheduled to be demolished on or any time after  6, September 2018, on Hurricane Irma’s anniversary.  The country’s already taken a great loss from a natural disaster and if this made man disaster should fortunately occur, the country would have taken a great significant loss towards Building Back a Better (BBB) stronger more resilience St. Maarten.

‘’ There must be some way that this can be worked out positively, please send me some more information so I may be able to review Mr. Wyatte,  I will try my best to see how I maybe able to approach and have a positive conversation with my colleague Minister Giterson to express the importance of your project with hopes that it can be positively resolved.’’ Minister Smith expressed to Wyatte.

The minister seem to enjoy the livelihood of the ambiance and drifted off into talking to Wyatte;s Father about the old times and their elders who appreciated agriculture in their times.

‘’ I Would like to thank Minister Smith for taking time out on such short notice to visit the project, I am highly appreciative his presence. Our conversation was very positive and we both felt positive about the direction and objectives that are trying to be met’’ Wyatte mentioned.

Mr. Wyatte , now president of the St Maarten Agricultural Research and Development Foundation also mentioned over the next few days he will be trying to establish communication with the Minister Giterson of VROMI with hopes on getting a speedy appointment, to sit and discuss positive possibilities on moving forward with the project. Also perhaps how government can also play a great role towards using the Research and data gathered by this project to help complement and strengthen the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

There has been over 700 Digital and Physical signatures gathered in support of this project thus far, all that is missing now is the positive support and signature of the Minister Giterson himself.

The SXM Agricultural Research and Development Center has been supported by the members of surrounding communities, supportive organizations such as Print Bernhard Culture Fonds, UNESCO, UNDP, SZV, Spaceless Gardens, Ministry of Health (Dept VSA), BAK, St Maarten Tourist Office, The St Maarten Vegan Community, St Maarten Jubilee Foundation, K1 Britannia, St Maarten Youth Council, St Maarten Chamber of Commerce, and newly supported groups like Unleash Potential Group Foundation (UPG) and many others .

We have all seen the grief and sorrow of a natural disaster and the organization is asking Minister Giterson not to create a man-made disaster but consider using the already thriving project complement and be one of the first sustainable projects in the direction of community livelihood and resilience of the NRRP.

Over the next few weeks the organization has a number of collaborative activities scheduled with the Agricultural Research and Development Center and is asking Minister Giterson to consider expiring the demolition based on the following:

Sept 8, 2018 – Community Market Day

Sept 10, 2018 – Ms Marcellia Henry of UNESCO & Charlotte Brookson students visit Agricultural Center

Sept 13, 2018 – Sustainable Development and Agroecology seminar with the University of St Maarten.

Sept 15, 2018 – Community Market Day

”We must remember that no one is promised tomorrow. So once we’re in the right place, at the right time, to do the right thing, then it must mean that we are actually chosen to make a difference Today.” – Wyatte

By ECO St Maarten Agricultural Research and Development Foundation

PHOTO: Minister of ECYS Mr Wycliffe Smith and Mr Denicio Wyatte at the SXM Agricultural Research and Development Center – Photo by Spaceless Gardens