MARIGOT–The Collectivite’s Vice-President for economic development Yawo Nyuiadzi in his speech at the Sandy Ground Fête on Tuesday said it was time for the image of Sandy Ground to change and that actions and initiatives that have benefitted Marigot or Grand Case should also benefit Sandy Ground.
“I have the impression that, after long discussions with inhabitants, and notably the youth, the State and the Collectivité up to now perhaps have been too dependent on these associations,” he said. “I am well aware of the work of these dynamic insertion associations of Sandy Ground, how they are helping the youth find work, how much time and energy goes into making life better for the inhabitants. For right or wrong, Sandy Ground doesn’t always get good press, for being a priority district, or because of insecurity or unemployment. There’s a lot to do to change this image.”
He said the absence of political will creates a sense of abandonment among inhabitants.
“Sandy Ground must rediscover its true pride. It’s the first village that tourists often pass through. It should be a showcase window, not just a transit district.”
He talked of the need to beautify the district, secure the roads, and establish a central square or meeting point where families can gather in peace and safety, to also prevent children playing dangerously on the side of the main road.
He noted some 30 files to regulate construction in the “50 pas Geometrique” zone were dealt with last month but 300 or more files are still awaiting review. On this point he intends to beef up human and financial resources to speed up the process.
With regard to the Gendarmerie he said their role in protecting the public is often misunderstood and inhabitants feel they are stigmatised. He suggested a Territorial Police sub-station be installed in Sandy Ground.
To children returning to school in 15 days he encouraged them to “listen, work hard, and respect your elders.”
Other speakers included the Junior Territorial Council’s Pierre-Lou Richieux, district six representative Georges Richardson, Senator Guillaume Arnell, Députée Claire Javois, and Secretary-General of the Préfecture, Thierry Mahler. President Daniel Gibbs was off-island.
Mahler, attending his second Sandy Ground Féte, joked his English was getting better but he has trouble now with Creole French.
“The actions of the State and the Collectivité on behalf of this district reflects a determination to achieve social cohesion, development of the district and success of its young people,” he said. “Parents and families are very important, as are traditions and obeying rules. Without the cooperation of parents to transmit values things will be much more difficult.
“The objective is for inhabitants and young people to evolve in a calm and secure environment. It’s the role of the Police and Gendarmerie to prevent violence. That’s why in 2016 the Contrat de Ville increased the number of Gendarmes and patrols. The State is currently involved in a number of actions to prevent violence and delinquency. “
Senator Arnell in his speech reminded that amongst the good work done by associations in Sandy Ground, the late Claude Tage and former President of the Collectivité Aline Hanson made significant contributions.
The Sandy Ground Fête coincided with the public holiday, Assumption Day. Assumption Day, or Assomption in France, is the day in Roman Catholic tradition when Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, was taken bodily up into heaven.
This year the speeches were held under a tent in the Albéric Richards Stadium where the festivities and entertainment for the rest of the day took place. There was no parade.