History was made on St Maarten as Toastmasters International District 81 hosted its conference from May 18th thru 20th at the Sonesta Maho Resort.
The conference attracted 210 delegates from 16 of the District 17 territories. This is the second highest group of delegates to attend a conference in the District's history. The majority of the delegates arrived on Wednesday and to ensure they can make full use of the time on the island, a mock Toastmasters meeting was conducted on Thursday evening. Under the theme "Behind these Masks", the event featured speakers and roleplayers from throughout the Caribbean. Started as a membership drive initiative by the St Maarten Toastmasters Clubs, the mock meeting is called "An evening with the Toastmasters" and is a public demonstration of Toastmasters International's education program.
The Conference Planning Committee, under the leadership of Valerie Brazier enlisted the services of the best Toastmasters presenters in the Caribbean. As a result, delegates were treated to several outstanding presentations.
The official opening ceremony was held on Friday evening with Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams delivering words of welcome and officially opening the conference. The paradox and innovations in today's world of communication was the focus of the keynote address delivered by Managing Director of the Princess Juliana International Airport.
Highlights of Saturday's conference proceedings included the Business meeting, where delegates were given the opportunity to let their voices be heard as they approved a new alignment for District 81 and elected the new District Governor and Executive for the 2012-2013 term. The International Speech Contest and Table topic contest saw a record numbers of 12 participants in each contest. The winners were Cheyenne Jacobs of Barbados and Godfrey McAllister of Jamaica.
The District 81 Conference culminated on Saturday evening with the Dinner and Installation ceremony. Specially invited guest Toastmasters International Director Dave Hollingshead conducted the ceremony to install the new District Executive. Rolande Tobias of St Maarten was installed as new District Governor, Ewart Adams of Guyana as Lieutenant Governor Education & Training, Valerie Brazier of St Maarten as Lieutenant Governor Marketing and Carmen Cordova of Puerto Rico as Secretary.
According to Conference Chairlady Valerie Brazier; "the Conference Planning Committee worked tirelessly to ensure an extraordinary conference experience. We are extremely pleased with the overwhelming positive response". She extended sincere thanks and appreciation to the entire Team that worked along with her to make the delegates enjoy the Conference.
District Governor Essie Gardner commended the Team for their hard work and dedication to Toastmasters and to providing the conference attendees with a memorable conference. Toastmasters District 81 hosts two conferences annually; one in May and the other in October.