Minister of TEATT Mr Stewart Johnson shows positive support toward SXM Agricultural Research and Development Center 

Minister of TEATT and Mr Denicio Wyatte at the SXM Agricultural Research and Development Center - Photo by Spaceless Gardens

By ECO St Maarten Agricultural Research and Development Foundation 

ST PETERS, Sint Maarten — On August 29, 2018, the Minister of TEATT honorable Mr. Johnson took some time out of his busy schedule to visit the Agricultural Research and Development Center  in St Peters . The Minister reached out to Mr. Wyatte a few weeks ago,  with interest of visiting the center to learn a bit more about its activities on livelihood it brings to the St. Peter’s community. 

During his visit the at the Center Minister Johnson 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 Johnson Expressed to Wyatte that he was very intrigued to visit the project and that it shows a lot of great potential in many different ways. ‘’ Agriculture falls under my ministry and I would definitely like to see how there can be a positive collaboration made between the ministry and this project, ’’ Minister Johnson explained. 

Wyatte also took sometime to explain to the minister the importance of having an Agricultural Center , the benefits it may add to the national recovery and resilience plan and its overall components such as Food Security, Employment, Livelihoods, Social Protection, Waste Management, Education, Tourism , Finances, Hurricane Preparation \ Recover and Community Recovery and Resilience.

Minister Johnson was also notified that The St. Maarten Agricultural Research and Development Center  is scheduled to be demolished on 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. 

‘’This is an unfortunate situation indeed seeing that this project has so much great potential for Country St. Maarten. As I am not the Minister of VROMI there is only so much that I can do about the land situation but I intend to see if I can have a positive dialogue with my colleague Minister Giterson to see if this situation can be positively resolved in the best interests of the community, government and country St Maarten.’’ Minister Johnson commented.

‘’ I Would like to thank Minister Johnson for taking time out to visit me at the project, I highly appreciated his presence. We had a very positive conversation and we both felt positive about the direction and objectives that are trying to be achieved’’ Wyatte 

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 and 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), 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  and many others .

We have all seen the grief and sorrow of a natural disaster and the organization is asking Minister Gitterson 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:

Aug 31, 2018 – Meeting with Minister of Tourism Mr Stewart Johnson

Sept 1, 2018 – Community Market Day

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.

”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.