Statia Day celebrations at Fort Oranje well attended

Dignitaries, Dutch Marines, uniformed groups, invited guests and Statians gathered at the Statia Day 2017 opening ceremony at the Museum’s ceremony grounds.

 

Departing Dutch Government Representative Gilbert Isabella (left) presenting a farewell gift to Acting Island Governor Julian Woodley.

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ST. EUSTATIUS–Thursday morning’s well-attended opening ceremony for Statia Day 2017 was not held as is customary at Fort Oranje. The ceremony was forced to move due to safety concerns caused by erosion at the historical Fort. This time, the ceremony was held at St. Eustatius Historical Foundation Museum.

  Uniformed groups raised the flags of Statia, the Netherlands and the United States at the ceremony grounds.

  Master of Ceremonies (MC) Officer of Government Information Service (GIS) Mercedes Lopes-Spanner welcomed everyone present. The national anthems of the Netherlands and the United States and the Statia Song were performed by Miranda Roosberg, Rijziena Hooker and Nadia Turner, respectively.

   Commissioner of Culture Derrick Simmons explained why he chose to be with the uniformed groups instead of sitting with the other dignitaries that were present.

  He said it seems that recently many young persons have been detained and sent to Bonaire. He said he is with the clubs helping the youngsters to build a strong sense of self-worth.

  He encouraged his audience to become involved with the various clubs on the island to guide the youths of today, “so that they all can ensure a better future for the island.”

  Simmons also made the promise that when he returns to the stage next year and “God willing,” the new airport building would be a reality.

  Dutch Government Representative Gilbert Isabella said this would be his last time celebrating Statia Day in this capacity.

  He mentioned several programmes that came into being since the first time he addressed the island during his first Statia Day, such as youth-care organizations being funded through subsidy regulation, the breakfast programme for school children, the now completed waste-management plant, the solar park, the airport-runway resurfacing, and English as the first language of instruction in schools.

  “Much can be achieved when all parties work together for a single goal with the focus being on the wishes of the people of Statia,” Isabella said.

  He expressed his thanks and appreciation to all those he had the opportunity to work with. “I express sincere gratitude to the workers of the National Government who work tirelessly each day to serve the people of this beautiful island. Special thanks to my adopted mother Moveda Douglas who has made each visit to Statia special. I will forever remember your warmth and kindness.”

  Isabella, who will resign as Government Representative as of January 1, 2018, wished the people of Statia “the very best” and encouraged them “to work diligently and united so that their children can enjoy a good education, as well ensuring that they grow up in a safe and healthy environment.”

  He presented gifts to Acting Island Governor Julian Woodley, to Commissioners Charles Woodley and Simmons and the Island Council Members.

  Many persons wore cultural outfits celebrating their heritage, among which were persons from Statia and other Caribbean islands and the Netherlands.

  The Dutch Marines were present at the ceremonies, as well as a representative of the US Consulate and the US Coast Guard.

  After the ceremony, the drum bands from each uniformed group led a parade through the streets of Oranjestad. After the parade, breakfast was served at Super Burger Restaurant

Departing Dutch Government Representative Gilbert Isabella (left) presenting a farewell gift to Acting Island Governor Julian Woodley.

 

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/71037-statia-day-celebrations-at-fort-oranje-well-attended

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