As I meditated and enjoyed God’s scenic nature of our beautiful island with my Mom and eldest son, a good friend of mines sent me a WhatsApp message if I ever read the book ‘The Making of an Island’ by Jean Glasscock.
One of the pages in the book in which my friend sent to me spoke about the history of St. Maarten when Mr. Bill Hunter opened Hunter House (now called Castle Cove Inn where he brought guests by boat to Point Blanche from the little pier in town). The article spoke about my Dad ‘Mooch’ who use to work for Mr. Hunter, and who would blow a conch shell from the little boat and pick up the guests and bring them to Hunters House. In those days they only had lanterns and candles and some large flashlights. The road was built out to Point Blanche in the fall of 1961 and in 1963 or 1964 they finally got electricity from the light company.
As I continued to read one of the pages in the book, I turned to my mom and asked her about the history in which she explained to me how my Dad ‘Mooch’ use to work, cook and even sing for the guests at Hunters House during those days. We spoke for a long time about my Dad’s contribution to St. Maarten and how he swam from Anguilla to St. Martin seven (7) times, a talented soccer player and sportsman. He was the chauffeur for three Lt. Governors of St. Maarten. My mom turns to me and says we need to document our history for generations to come to have an insight on how it used to be in the early days before modern development and the progress of society took over.
Mr. Editor, I fully agree with my mom and the point I would like to make in this letter to the editor is that we need to start documenting our history and landmarks of our beautiful island for generations to come. We have lost a lot of our seniors with so much wealth of knowledge without documenting our history.
By documenting our history, we would treasure, value and respect the foundation and principles that St. Maarten was built on by our local ancestors and seniors.
Today, we reap the fruits of St. Maarten’s past heritage but forget some of us forget the history and how St. Maarten was built and by whom. We need to get away from becoming a self- centered society and start focusing on building each other up rather than tearing each other down. It’s very sad to see how we got away from our history and principles on how we lead and build a Nation by becoming more caring and creating hope by speaking truth to our people to move forward in life. The most powerful leaders stay humble and tell people the truth and create hope for their people.
We need to get back to basics and respect, appreciate the solid foundation and principles that St. Maarten was built on for us to enjoy and make us what we are today. We need to pray more, stay humble and start caring and sharing more about our people. We need to pass on all these principles and family values to the next generation and generations to come before we lose focus to outside peer pressure and other influences of the world.
I pray that this letter to the editor will get us to appreciate and start sharing and documenting our history to build a better St. Maarten in unity for our people. A lot of us forget our history, where we came from and how St. Maarten was built for us to become the person, we have grown up to be today. We need to continue naming our buildings and streets after our local icons. I was so happy to see St. Maarteners will have the honor of carrying two street names in Amsterdam, Holland by our own national cultural/heritage expert the late Camille E. Baly.
In closing, let us continue to honor and recognize our people who have contributed to St. Maarten's development, and to create a new Destiny for our children, grandchildren, and generations to come.
Gratitude is a must.