PHILIPSBURG–The Volunteer Corps of St. Maarten VKS celebrated its twentieth anniversary on July 1. A ceremony took place in front of the new Government Administration Building, followed by a parade through Philipsburg, a church service at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church and closed off with a reception at Sonesta Great Bay Resort and Casino.
Minister of Justice Raphael Boasman, VKS board Chairman Franklyn Richards and commander Major Antonio Rogers gave speeches during the ceremony. All speakers lauded the members of the VKS for their continued service and sacrifices for St. Maarten. Those members who have 15 and 20 years in the VKS service were honoured by the organisation.
Rogers pointed out the significance of the celebration taking place on Emancipation Day this year, with a review of Volunteer Corps history dating back to 1929 when Antilleans in Curaçao successfully petitioned for the right for its citizens to form a defence force of its own people, the VKC.
Boasman mentioned the fact that St. Maarten has come to rely on the VKS in addressing shortages of manpower in various departments of the Ministry of Justice.
The marching group of more than 100 uniformed participants consisted of the VKS drum band, VKS members, the Royal Anguilla Police Band and the Youth Brigade of St. Maarten. The local police were not present this year due to other obligations for Emancipation Day.
The parade began at the new Government Administration Building and made its way to Back Street and then to Front Street, ending at the Catholic Church. The church service that followed included a musical rendition with vocals by the Anguilla Police Band and a special prayer for the continued wellbeing of VKS and its members.
The anniversary celebration also included a week of friendly sports competitions and a talent event between uniformed forces, including the Territorial Police of French Saint Martin and the Royal Anguilla Police Force (RAPF), from the previous Tuesday evening up to Saturday, July 1.
The volleyball competition was won by the French Police, with the Dutch Police coming in at second. The VKS team won the basketball competition with the French Police in second place. The VKS won the team domino tournament on Thursday and the French Police won the Karaoke singing contest on Friday. The Royal Anguilla Police Force competed in Sunday’s events only, due to their travel schedule.
A mini-triathlon relay race on Sunday morning started at the VKS headquarters with runners and the cyclists racing to Kim Sha Beach and ended with a short kayak race off the beach. The VKS managed a victory in this head-to-head competition. Following that event, a set of Best out of 3 Beach Volleyball was won by the Anguilla Police team and the Anguillans ended the sports festivities with a team domino victory against the VKS.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/67458-vks-celebrates-20-years-strong