Rotary Sunrise Inaugurates New President at it’s Change of Board Ceremony in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten

rotaryboard07072016PHILIPSBURG:— The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise installed it’s new president Okama Ekpe Brook and 13 board members at a dinner ceremony on Sunday July 3, 2016 at the Melange International Grill Restaurant. Port De Plaisance.
The event was attended by some 70 Rotarians, family and friends. Also in attendance was Assistant District Governor Rotarian Jasmine Sally and the immediate past Assistant governor Louis Wever and spouse, Mrs. Amanda Wever. Incoming Presidents were in attendance from the other Rotary Clubs on St. Maarten, Saint-Martin Nord, Anguilla, Guadeloupe and the Presidents of Rotaract Clubs of Sint Maarten Sunrise and Saint Martin Nord. Rotarian Meredith Boekhoudt was Mistress of Ceremony.
Outgoing President Ms. Marcellia Henry highlighted in her speech the many projects accomplished during the course of the year including:

1. Launching new community and vocational service projects;
2. Strengthening existing ‘Signature’ projects;
3. Reviving successful local and international projects;
4. Establishing new partnerships with businesses, departments of government, and other non-Rotary service clubs in the community;
5. Participating in joint projects orchestrated by the Rotary Clubs of St. Maarten / St. Martin, St. Barths, and Anguilla, and our sponsored clubs: Rotaract Club of St. Maarten Sunrise and Sundial Interact Club and
6. Organizing more fellowships to sustain, attract and diversify our membership.

She also highlighted several awards won by the Club such as the (1st ) place for the District’s ‘Club of the Month Program’ and being named the ‘Club of the Month Superstar’ and received the Diamond Award and trophy. She thanked those whom have partnered with the club during her tenure noting that the Club performed outstandingly and moved from ‘Success to Significance’! She concluded with a Well done Sunriser appreciative salute noting that to achieve such an accomplishment with only 18 members, in spite of there being eighty-four (84) clubs in our district 7020 varying from large (100+ members) to small (25 and less members) in 10 countries, 16 islands, is beyond impressive!

New President Okama Ekpe Brook thanked the members for the trust in electing her as their President and the steadfast support of her family. She noted her vision is to be a catalyst for change, strengthening acquaintances, serving humanity, and being the change that she wishes to see within the community, region and globe. In a partnership with her fellow Rotarians, other presidents from Anguilla, St. Barths, St. Martin Nord, Mid Isle and St. Maarten Clubs, and supporters within the community, she called on others to join Rotary in this journey as we celebrate 100 years of the Rotary Foundation and 30 years of women in Rotary. She is particularly excited that all three clubs on the southern side of the island have female presidents. The Assistant Governor and both Rotaract presidents, are females. It is an exciting time to be in Rotary. Building on the theme of the District Governor Haresh Ramchandani to ‘Be The Change’ , she pledged her commitment to do all within her capabilities and with the support of her board and members to ensure that the fight to eradicate polio is continued through the foundation’s work, transform lives within our community through impactful initiatives, strengthen the vibrancy of our club that the collective passion be reawakened and reinvigorate the Four Way Test with Fun Fellowships and ‘Service Above Self’.

She hopes to play a role that helps reduce unemployment by addressing youth issues, particularly youth at risk. She highlighted the peace and conflict resolution activities to strengthen understanding and peaceful coexistence. Public Service Announcements entitled ‘Rotary Champion of Peace’ are gaining popularity as an educative peace building and conflict resolution tool. A second District Grant has been granted from the District 7020 funds to continue these activities in 2016. She encouraged people to listen out and join the Rotary peace walks to create greater awareness and contribute to the peace fund. Another initiative, the ‘Source of Inspiration & Learning’ (SOIL) Center is another project for focus that aims to address through innovative approaches and sports, issues faced by delinquent youth in the school district of St. Peters. As a performing artist herself and sports lover, she looks forward to helping to enhance youth talents in our multicultural society. So, thematically, Polio, culture, education & literacy, economic development, peace & conflict resolution and sports will be prioritized during the year 2016-2017.

Okama Ekpe Brook has been part of the Rotary family since her teenage years in Nigeria where her family made Rotary memorabilia and she was never short of contact with Rotarians. She was volunteering from a young age and having worked with the United Nations, volunteering was second nature to her. She never considered joining Rotary, to the point, she even declined when asked to join in Curaçao. According to her. the conduct of humanitarian service was always an integral aspect of her life and there was no need to be part of a club to give back. The turning point came in 2014 when she met a Rotarian, Angela Gordon who invited her to make a presentation on national development to Sunrisers. In the exchange that ensued, she came to understand what drives Rotarians, the passion, expertise, skills and dedication and the realization that together, we can make a greater impact with all these talents through collective action and a vibrant club. We have a common vision, a common purpose. Let’s make it happen, she said to herself. So, she asked how she could assist the club and ended up joining the Rotary Peace Monument Committee. Soon after becoming familiar with Rotary, she learned that her own country Nigeria was on the verge of complete Polio eradication. In 2014, she joined Rotary. In 2015, Nigeria was declared Polio free! If Rotarians are working towards this goal, why not her, a Nigerian! She noted that now, Rotary is very close to complete Polio eradication. But Rotary has not done this alone nor will it do the rest alone. What is needed is consistent action and durable partnerships! Imagine if we can combine all our efforts, resources and pull in more people. We will be much further and be this much closer. We are almost there. Two more countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan and the world will be Polio free! We are this close, and together, we can do it. We can eradicate polio around the world, she noted.

In the two years that she has been in the organization, moving from Membership Director, to Secretary and now to President, she notes that her dream is of collective action that harnesses the full human potential, giving of our time, talent, and treasure for the good of humanity, for the progress in our communities! Together, we shall continue to be the change, serve humanity, and make the world a better place.

She concluded by commending the outgoing President Marcellia Henry and her board for an excellent performance and expressed the wish and goal for the Club to continue to make a significant contribution to the community. Ekpe Brook formally introduced her new board for the year 2016/2017 including:

Marcellia Henry – Immediate Past President and Special Projects Director
Prakash Peter Dialani – Vice President
Damali Bryson – Secretary and President Elect
Cookie Bijlani – Treasurer
Ahmed Bell – Rotary Foundation Director
Valda Woodley-Hazel – Club Administration
Monique Alberts – Sergeant At Arms
Bernadette Davis – Membership and International Director
Ruminni Carlix Rogers – New Generation Chair
Dolly Sadaraganie-Ahuja ‘ – Public Relations
Debbie Karani – Assistant Membership Director
Kameela Piper – Disaster Management Director
Norman Niranjan – Assistant Fundraising Director

A special “Thank You” went out to all the guests and sponsors who made the evening the success it was.

The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise meets every Tuesday at the Ginger Bread Café Restaurant, Belair Beach Hotel from 7:00AM to 8:00AM. . For more information on the club visit us at or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Source: St. Martin News Network
Rotary Sunrise Inaugurates New President at it’s Change of Board Ceremony in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten