PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Jorien Wuite, and Department of Culture Head, Clara Reyes, extend a message of strength and comfort to the family and friends on the passing of Rolando Bryson on Saturday, May 19th.
“We express our gratitude to ‘Creator’ for having had the privilege of being beneficiaries of Mr. Bryson’s commitment to St. Maarten and her culture. We are grateful that we are all able to share in the gift of his life” reflects Clara. “Mr. Bryson was an integral figure in the development of St. Maarten’s culture through his multiple roles as the nation’s Griot cultural worker, artist, performer, civil servant, and never forgetting the key historical figure of ‘Paben’ which as the venerable all-knowing wise St. Maarten patriarch kept us all entertained over the years.”
Minister Wuite conveyed that Mr. Bryson’s legacy as ‘Mi Paben’ has been significant and unique for Sint Maarten’s cultural heritage, storytelling and performing arts. “Comedian, actor, historian, musician/promoter, photographer; there were many hats that Roland wore and excelled at.
From his many years at the Cole Bay Theatre Company to his love for all things Carnival, I doubt there was anyone on St. Maarten that did not know who he was. Even in his retirement he was often front and center at our weekly press briefing, always with a smile. I will personally and sincerely miss him. Roland ‘Mi Paben’ had a special place in my heart and I extend my genuine condolences to his family.
I sincerely hope that artistic contributions will be developed to keep his memory and art-form alive; this is an opportune moment for our creative artists to come together and catalogue his life.”