Minister of Culture Samuel calls on community to remain vigilant against attacks on Culture, Heritage and Monuments | SOUALIGA NEWSDAY

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - In recent months and in the past year there has been numerous attacks on the heritage of Sint Maarten culture our intangible and our tangible culture. Monument and heritage sites are being tampered with or targeted for destruction, without the proper legal procedures being followed.

On behalf of the Ministry of Education Culture Youth of Sport (MECYS), I, drs. Rodolphe Samuel offers my gratitude to all the people that have been calling in about the situation at the old Simpson Bay Bridge and other heritage sites. I beseech the public to remain vigilant when it comes to our monuments.

Just recently and quite unfortunate the Ministry has been called upon to address numerous ongoing situations such as the illegal renovation works taking place at L ’Escargot Restaurant property, the demolition of an historical ruin in Cole Bay, dumping of debris on the old Simpson Bay Bridge and the destruction of historical boulders at the former Emilio Wilson Plantation property in Cul de Sac.

“These are people who have been received with open arms yet fail to respect the very island that offers them a safe haven and sustenance. Our very own Sint Maarten people have been irresponsible with regards to our cultural traditions and monuments.

“We have to bring value to our heritage and culture, and I hereby remind and request the public to continue to be vigilant and alert. If you see something, do call the Ministry of Education Culture Youth and Sport immediately 520-5340.

“I am urging all residents, visitors, and citizens that have a love for Sint Maarten to join the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport in its mission to safeguard the tangible and intangible Cultural Heritage of the people of Sint Maarten. We cannot do this without you, although our resources may be limited, our will is strong! Each of us must do our part in preserving what is ours for the future generations to come,” says Minster of ECYS drs. Rodolphe Samuel.

CULTURE, TRADITONS, and HERITAGE is everyone’s business. Yours, Mines, Everyone!

It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that our history is preserved for the next generation.

We need our partners. We need alliances in the community to be extra vigilant with our trees, with our stonewalls, with our buildings, our wells, our traditions.

We are thankful to all of those who have been calling the Department of Culture and ministry to report on the destructions of relevant historical sites.

We ask for your continued support to be vigilant to pay attention.

There is a monument ordinance and process and procedures in place.

There are laws in place, fines, and jail time for individuals and or companies and organizations that violate our cultural patrimony.

The following is the process when applying for a monument permit.

Requests for obtaining a Monument Permit in accordance with the National Monument Ordinance (Monumenten Landsverordening, AB 2013, GT no. 336)

It is prohibited to touch a registered monument without a license from the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, or violate any of the conditions laid down in such a license in whole or in part if it involves:

  • breaking down or moving.
  • destroying or damaging.
  • alteration in any fashion.
  • restoration, usage or allowed usage in a manner whereby the registered monument is defaced or put at risk.

A permit as referred to above must be requested in writing addressed to the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (Soualiga Blvd., Philipsburg, Sint Maarten). The Minister decides on the request within six months after receipt of the written submission. In the event a decision is not taken within six months and the applicant is not notified or informed of such, the request shall be deemed to have been granted.

Even if a historical site or artifact is uncovered, you are required by law to report this to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.

To determine whether a project requires a monument permit, the applicant can submit attached monument permit request form. For more detailed information containing general conditions please refer to the National Ordinance containing general conditions on Monuments by the Government of Sint Maarten which can be found on  

As minister responsible for monuments, I am hereby reminding the public of the monument ordinance and the requirement of the license prior to works being done on a monument.

The further destruction of our heritage will not be tolerated, and anyone seen violating the articles of the monument ordinance will face legal consequences.

Once again, we thank you for your continued support. If you're going to do any excavations and you come across something in question. Contact the department of culture or VROMI inspection. They in turn will call the relevant experts.

“Only together we can save our cultural heritage!”