I recently met with Mr. Anthony Begina on Tuesday to explore the possibilities with the various islands of establishing a new participation agreement with the Netherlands Antilles Olympic Committee. Mr. Begina, the former head of the Directorate of Education on Curacao, has been designated by the Antillean Minister of Sports Mrs. Omayra Leeflang to speak to the island about such a possibility.
With the forthcoming disillusion of the Netherlands Antilles Begina has been designated by the Antillean Minister of Sports on this fact-finding mission to all Antillean islands.
It has long been established that the individual islands, not being or becoming sovereign nations, cannot participate in the Olympics on our own. Currently we participate as the Netherlands Antilles and the NAOC is the representing organization. In order to guarantee participation in the Olympics in the future we will have to associate ourselves with an existing member, NAOC being such a possibility. So taking into account St. Maarten’s and Curacao’s future status as Country as well as the BES islands, Mr. Begina’s visit was important to determine how we move forward.
The expectation is for the islands to proceed with NOAC revised, with assurances that the objectives are met within the same context. We have to look at the financial aspects of a new structure, proper and equal representation of all islands, exactly how the island will be represented in NOAC (through which entity) and equal opportunities to participate in international events.
So I am looking forward to additional discussions and a report from Mr. Begina once he compiles the information he gathered on his fact-finding trip.
I was also briefed on the upcoming "Cultural Games" which will lead up to and runs through the Kingdom Games which start on July 19, 2009 on Aruba. Mrs. Yolanda Ng of the Antillean Directorate of Education explained that St.Maarten will be able to send 6 young people between the ages of 13 and 21 who will be able to showcase themselves and their respective talents among their peers.
I’m always of the opinion that cultural exchanges within the Kingdom should be strengthened. Therefore I am looking forward to youth from St. Maarten traveling to Aruba and taking part in this cultural exchange.