Dr. Rhoda Arrindell Represents One St. Martin Association at the BIG Conference at the UN

St. Martin’s Dr. Rhoda Arrindell (4th L), and co-participants from the Caribbean region and the South Pacific at the international decolonization conference hosted by the Baku Initiative Group (BIG) at the United Nations, New York City, June 2024.


GREAT BAY, St. Martin —Dr. Rhoda Arrindell, president of the One St. Martin Association (One SXM), was the sole delegate from St. Martin at the BIG international conference on decolonization in New York last week.

Arrindell was an invited speaker at the conference, “Towards Independence and Fundamental Freedoms: The Role of the C-24 in Ending Colonialism,” hosted by the Baku Initiative Group (BIG) at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

 Arrindell read the One SXM statement on June 20, highlighting the association’s ongoing campaign “to bring awareness to the St. Martin and international communities about St. Martin people’s quest for sovereignty and how it is thwarted by politicians on the island and in Europe.”

Arrindell said that the One SXM position “provided a historical overview and questioned why St. Martin, south and north, was not on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories while others with similar political structures were included.”

An author and leading educator of the island, Arrindell told the gathering that “the blunder that was made in 1955 to not include the territories of Sint Maarten and Saint Martin on the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories should be corrected today.”

She added that, “St. Martin needs friendly nations to assist us with creating amendments to Resolution 945, and we are counting on you to be among them.”

Delegates at the conference also represented Polynesia, Kanaky (New Caledonia), Corsica, Comoro Islands, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guiana, and Bonaire, among others, each sharing their territory’s ongoing experience with colonialism, said Arrindell.

 The BIG conference concluded with participants signing a petition to support the Kanaky people and condemned France’s violent actions against the people in Kanaky, Martinique, and Mayotte. 

According to BIG, its international conferences feature discussions of legal frameworks to address the decolonization challenges, while also examining case studies of regions that have successfully transitioned to independence. 

The C-24 is the Special Committee on Decolonization, established in 1961, which annually reviews the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories for progress in promoting human rights and territories’ rights to self-determination, according to the United Nations.