PORT–Some 100 “hurricane heroes” especially selected by the Cabinet of Tourism and Economic Affairs Minister Mellissa Arrrindell-Doncher were hosted aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines’ ship Grandeur of the Seas on Sunday.
The Minister also chose to recognise individuals such as Member of Parliament Ardwell Irion, businessman John Caputo, civil servants Marvio Cooks and Claudius Buncamper, and others for “their selfless work in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma,” according to a statement from the Minister’s Cabinet.
The “heroes” were from the hotel sector, Police Force, Fire Department, nurses, utilities company GEBE, airport management, air traffic controllers, Port St. Maarten, volunteers who distributed food supplies through the Ministry, and the business sector.
The “hurricane heroes” initiative came from RCCL executives who wanted to make the company’s return to the country post-Hurricane Irma “a memorable one” by showing the company stands with St. Maarten “by recognising some of those who went above and beyond,” said the Cabinet.
The heroes and cruise passengers were serenaded by Charlotte Brookson Academy students who raised their voices in the St. Maarten Song.
“There are many people who did extraordinary things before, during and after the storms, people who sacrificed themselves to serve the general population. These folks came from all walks of life,” the Minister is quoted as saying.
“We cannot realistically honour all of them today, but to those who are here we say ‘thank you for your selflessness and your sacrifice. The people of St. Maarten are better off today because of your efforts.’”
The Minister thanked RCCL for recognising the hurricane heroes and for returning with regular calls to the country starting with Grandeur of the Seas. Sunday’s visit was the first post-Irma call by a cruise ship carrying more than 1,000 passengers. The first cruise ship to return to the country was Viking Sea on December 4.
“What a great early Christmas gift for St. Maarten. To welcome back Grandeur of the Seas and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines to our shores is truly an occasion worth celebrating during a very challenging period in our history,” the Minister said.
“The people of the country are working on its recovery,” she said, but added the caveat that restoring its former glory will not occur overnight. As such, it is “good to know that we have partners such as RCCL to help us get there” and that have expressed “its willingness to do whatever the company can to assist in our recovery.”
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/71964-hurricane-heroes-hosted-aboard-rccl-cruise-ship