PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (August 28, 2018) – The St. Maarten Guyanese Association (SMGA) last evening was forced to postpone its election for a new executive board after Chamber of Commerce representative Ms. Ruth Patrick and Minister of Justice Cornelius De Weever pointed out that the association was not in possession of the original copy of its registered constitution.
Both Minister De Weever and Ms. Patrick were invited to preside over the elections to ensure transparency, but when they requested to view the original Chamber registration, SMGA was only able to produce a draft document. As such, they indicated that they would not make themselves available to conduct the elections.
President of SMGA, Mr. Malcolm Mickle immediately called an emergency board meeting and after a consensus, he assured the membership that efforts will be made over the next few days to secure the original registration in order to hold elections by next Tuesday. The day for elections was decided after the membership voted since some persons would not be able to turn out on Wednesday night.
Those running for president are Ms. Velda Blackett, a History teacher at the academic section of St. Maarten Academy; Mrs. Maureen Fortune, a Civics teacher at the PSVE section of St. Maarten Academy; and Ms. Dewanti Persaud, Manager of Black Diamond Entertainment. For the post of Vice President, only the current president was nominated.
Fortune and Persaud were also nominated for the post of Secretary, while the post of Treasurer is being contested by current treasurer Mr. Mark Daniels, a mechanical engineer and fabricator by profession; Mr. Joshua Schwiers, a School Manager at the Methodist Agogic Centre – Comprehensive Secondary Education (MSC-CSE); and Mr. Colin Morris, a former army officer trained as an aircraft engineer. Morris, Director of Maintenance at Winair, withdrew his nomination on Wednesday night as he did not feel that he would be able to give his all.
Ms. Nicola Duke was the only person nominated for the post of Events Coordinator, while Mr. Amar Khan, owner of Black Diamond Sound; Mr. Milton Pieters, a photographer by profession; and Ms. Blackett were nominated as assistants to that post. St. Maarten Academy English teacher, Ms. Sharon Layne was nominated for the post of Assistant Public Relations Officer. No one was nominated for the post of Public Relations Officer.
All persons nominated for office must be registered members with dues paid up and must have supported or attended at least three events hosted by the association in the election year, which started in October 2017. Nominees must also have a good reputation in the community.
Elections are now slated for Tuesday, September 4, 2018, at the 158B Back Street office in Philipsburg. Voting will begin at 7:30pm and close at 9:00pm. All Guyanese are being urged to turn out and make their vote count as the board of the association stands ready to represent all residents who share Guyanese heritage. There are currently 55 eligible voters.
SMGA was formed in 2015 after the St. Maarten Guyanese Foundation led by the late Courtney Gibson fell dormant. Its first board comprised Neville Mars as president, now Honorary Consul Cleveland Beresford as treasurer, and George Mars as Secretary.
The purpose of the association, as outline in its constitution, is to look after the legal, moral, cultural, social, economic and general interest of its members. The association seeks to attain these objectives through helping with the integration into the St. Maarten community and providing support for its members in areas of need. Persons interested in learning more can contact Mr. Mickle on 524-9587.
In a recent visit to St. Maarten, the Attorney General of Guyana, Mr. Basil Williams, seen sitting center in the above file photos, met with members of the St. Maarten Guyanese Association on the evening of Thursday, August 23rd, 2018. During his address Mr. Williams highlighted the developments of Guyana in terms of the oil production, crime and what is happening on the political scene.
First photo: Attorney General Basil Williams flanked by members of the Guyanese found community.
Second photo:Attorney General Basil Williams flanked by members of the board of the St. Maarten Guyanese Association.
File photos provided by Andrew Bishop.
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