Minister Jacobs Concordia Commemorative Journey a Resounding Success

PHOTO CUTLINE: Minister Silveria Jacobs on Concordia journey on Saturday.

The 365th anniversary of the Treaty of Concordia was marked with a commemorative journey that started at the Grand Marche parking lot in Cul de Sac and went along the L.B. Scott road and onto the St. Peters main road culminating on Mount Concordia locally known as Marigot Hill – the original site where the Treaty of Concordia was signed in 1648.

The Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs Hon. Silveria Jacobs lead the squadron of walkers that was comprised of a cross section of the St. Maarten/St. Martin community in particular a number of young people that are the true reflection of the spirit, glue that cements or binds the meaning of the treaty from a local perspective.


This is further illustrated in the words of one of the Island’s premiere researchers Daniella Jeffry who said: "Although at times both European nations have repeatedly violated this treaty between 1672 and 1801 during many periods of instability, the people of this island was able to weave cultural and historical ties. Consequently, the people are the permanent binding factor that has made Saint-Martin what it is today: two nations but one people, one culture, one language, one history".

The commemorative journey was well attended and meaningful to all participants, including a representative of the highest institution of the Country – the Member of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell.

In attendance as well was Jeffrey Richardson, a member of the St. Maarten/St. Martin Nation Building Foundation – a grass root organization that promotes the spirit of the Treaty of Concordia and the unification of the people. Newly appointed chairlady of the Monument Council Leona Marlin – Romeo was also in attendance along with Neville York Head of the Department of Culture, Marcellia Henry Secretary General UNESCO St. Maarten and members of the general public that included members of the Roumou family who gave a brief tour and glimpse into the way of the lives of their forefathers that once occupied and cultivated the lands where the treaty was signed.

Of significant importance were the many young people that turned out that were holders of dual nationality, both French and Dutch. Comments and enthusiasm coming from them made the trip worthwhile and inspired the Minister to incorporate this commemorative journey as an annual event on the Cultural Calendar in the near future affording all physically able residents to make this pilgrimage at least once a year or once in their life time.

The Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs in an invited comment thanked the youngsters and all present for inspiring her to continue doing what she was elected to do which is to represent the people’s interest in the most dignified and meaningful way possible.

The Minister at the end of the journey reiterated that although tourism has become an increasingly important part of St. Maarten’s economy, the people should not lose sight of the need to safeguard and preserve their distinct culture. "It must be remembered, that tourism is not a rationale for supporting culture, but a welcome reward for nurturing a dynamic cultural life," Minister Jacobs said.

"In order to safeguard and preserve this heritage we must focus our attention on developing Archeology, National Parks, Heritage and Historical landmarks, support Arts & Culture and create Adventure tourism: such as horseback riding, hiking trails, trekking etc. These will serve to educate our residents as well as provide opportunities for Eco-tourism and forms part and parcel of the 2013-2023 Decade of Revitalization of our Natural and Cultural Heritage," Minister Silveria Jacobs concluded.