PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — In an invited comment the leader of USP Mrs. Pamela Gordon-Carty expressed great dismay and disappointment, in the desecration of an important piece of St. Maarten history and heritage.
“A lack of respect for St. Maarten, her ancestors and the community of Cole bay were I am from should not be overlooked. The perpetrators must be held accountable,” said Gordon-Carty.
The last remnants of Diamond Estate in Cole Bay was demolished and left in a pile of rubble. The site used on emancipation day for the annual re-enactments of the “run for freedom” was desecrated leaving many in the community at a loss for words as to how this demolition could have taken place under the cover of darkness and not be intentional.
USP questioned what actions the Minister of ECYS Mr. Samuels was going to take on behalf of the country and in the interest of protecting its history and culture. “This is an unacceptable trampling on the rights of our ancestral heritage. Such historical significance being completely erased cannot go unpunished,” continued Gordon-Carty.
Minister Doran condemnation of what he termed “an atrocious disregard for our tangible heritage” was viewed by Gordon-Carty as an inadequate response. It was not followed up by what actions the minister intends to take to remedy the situation and/or punish the perpetrators.
“I find it hard to believe that someone with no interest in the location, just out of nowhere, decided that the ruins had to be removed. It needs to be restored at the perpetrators expense and re-designated for the historical pleasure of future generations,” said Gordon-Carty”
The USP leader took notice of Minister Doran presentation in parliament motivating the need to build taller buildings, but did not recall hearing any measures to preserve and protect our monuments being motivated by the Minister Samuel of ECYS. She questioned how the suggested policy adjustments would benefit the living standards of the people whose ancestral legacy was trampled on at Diamond Estate.
Gordon-Carty recalled that the Netherlands allocated Seven hundred and fifty thousand Euros to the preservation and protection of monuments on St. Maarten after Hurricane Irma. She questioned when and if it was used for its intended purpose. Based on her understanding the monument list has not been updated since 2005. She queried why at a time when most travelers are looking for an experience we are not promoting our historical sites.
“We keep talking about improving our tourism product and improving education. But low lying fruit is neglected to the point that contractors are comfortable destroying them without the fear of repercussions. Our old trees are not protected, our ruins are not maintained with pride, and all of our wells should be placed on the monument list,” continued Gordon-Carty.
There has been no mention by Minister Samuel of his steps moving forward with regards to the monuments, but many in the community while feeling disappointed are hopeful that steps will be taken to properly address the issues.
“We need to protect the little that we have, in order to make a strong contribution to our identity as a people and ensure that the harsh conditions under which our ancestors were able to prevail is never forgotten or blatantly disrespected,” concluded Gordon-Carty.
See link to local monuments below: