GevMin announces Sint Maarten Diaspora Database Project

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THE NETHERLANDS — In the margins of the annual Interparliamentary Kingdom consultations (IPKO), the Ministers Plenipotentiary Patrice Gumbs and Deputy Gracita Arrindell hosted a reception for the Members of Parliament and members of the Sint Maarten community at the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary (Sint Maarten House), earlier this week, under the theme “Connecting Horizons: Strengthening the Sint Maarten Community Abroad.

Chosen by the President of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams, the theme reflects the growing call for engagement with the Sint Maarten communities abroad (the diaspora) and the Government at home.

In his address, Minister Plenipotentiary Gumbs acknowledged the differences between the communities, but that opportunities existed if we found ways to bridge the gap. The Cabinet believes the first step to do this is the creation of a Sint Maarten Diaspora Database.

The cross-cutting database will include things like language skills, professional and private skills as well as family situation, interests, and hobbies.

Gumbs noted that in 2020, the Government launched the National Development Vision, the blueprint for the development trajectory of Sint Maarten. “With this database project, my Cabinet’s aim is to align opportunities both abroad and at home with the wealth of expertise that Sint Maarteners, here in the Netherlands, possess.

In addition, we are working to develop initiatives here that support the personal development of the community and tackle critical issues like housing, especially for our students”.

In his closing remarks Minister Gumbs stated that his Cabinet, despite its very political function, is not a political entity.  He encouraged the students to always feel at home at the Cabinet and to know that despite whichever political party or politician occupies this seat, the objective remains to be at the service of the Sint Maarten people regardless of race, economic level, religion, gender, sexual or political orientation.

The evening was catered by Modern Comfort, owned by Sint Maarten businessowner in the Netherlands, Ms. Tsjachmaidah Richardson. “My overall objective is to ensure that once someone leaves Sint Maarten, Sint Maarten doesn’t leave them, and Government must play an active role in supporting this”. Guests were encouraged to provide their contact information to start building the database.

Those that did will have their name entered into a raffle for tickets to Kalaboom’s upcoming Bacchanal Sunday event being held in Rotterdam on July 28th.