Prime Minister Hands Out Certificates to Democratic Dialogue Training Course Graduates

Again Stresses the Need for the Wider Community to be involved in the Nation Building Process

The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williamson Wednesday presented certificates of completion to the more than two-dozen participants in the Democratic Dialogue course co-organized by the Department of Interior and Kingdom Relations BAK and the United Nations Development Program.


Caption: Prime Minister Wescot-Williams with some of the Graduates of the Democratic Dialogue Training Course

The online training course, which was taught through the United Nations University, gave the opportunity to participants from all walks of life within the community to learn tools to engage in the democratic dialogue and information gathering necessary for the involvement of the whole community in the drafting of the National Development Plan. The United Nations Coordinated Course trained participants of the community of St. Maarten from various backgrounds and social standings to engage in Democratic Dialogue to bring the population into the process of developing St. Maarten into the Nation they would like to see.

The Prime Minister commented that she was extremely satisfied at the large number of enrolments in the course and to see such a large group graduate. "I am extremely pleased at the large group that graduated from this extremely important course and I would like to thank all of you for having taken up the challenge into making the importance clear for the progress of the National Development Plan in St. Maarten. It is extremely to realize that this training is not only about the National Development Plan but it is about engaging in dialogue and receiving information from within the community to not only arrive at the National Development Plan but to also engage in the Nation Building Process," stressed the PM.

The Prime Minister also commented that some very important elements are being raised with regards to inclusion of all in society, something that was also addressed during the course. "There are numerous groups within our society. Some have different opinions and in some these differences are very pronounced. There are also groups where there is a sort of apathy regarding society where people just go about their personal lives with disregard for the community in which they live. Some people continuously knock heads and some people really don’t care. We do have certain elements of these attitudes; differing opinions on various matters. Within that environment we need to bring the people of St. Maarten together and bring them into the process. We need to create that ownership and ensure that when we, the policy makers, will be going in the streets and talking about the people, the people’s voices can be clearly heard, and this course was an important element in creating that sense of ownership amongst the population," emphasized Prime Minister Wescot-Williams.

Rodney Davis, a participant in the course reiterated the PM’s call for all to be involved in the Nation Building Process; "For me the Prime Minister threw down a friendly challenge. We have always talked about the people of St. Maarten getting involved. We cannot stand aside and not rise to the challenge. For me it was a matter of taking the opportunity to respond to that challenge. The people of St. Maarten should be involved in this dialogue. It is extremely important that we present ourselves and be involved. What the Prime Minister is saying is correct; the opportunity is there for everyone to be involved. The call was there and I responded and we need to get everyone involved in the same way. Provisions have been made to ensure that we are in a safe place for everyone to express their views and also have open dialogue. It is about communication and letting our minds unfold and not be fearful of repercussions or people labeling you. It involves us actually ensuring that every voice is heard. I would like to reiterate everyone to join with the Prime Minister; the efforts are genuine, I have seen it."