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Constitution Day Celebration on Monday, October 14, 2019

Philipsburg -- On Monday, October 14, 2019, the Department of Culture within the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (MECYS) in collaboration with the St. Maarten National Commission (NatCom) for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will be hosting a Constitution Day Ecumenical Church Service and an official launch of the First National Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) Inventory of St. Maarten. This year’s event will take place at the Saints Simon and Jude Anglican Church on Backstreet in Philipsburg at 9:00 a.m. and the following ICH Marketplace will be adjacent to the church in the Old Street Parking lot. The theme is entitled ‘Culture Constitution: A Symbiotic Synergy for Country Excellence’. The ICH official Launch will be released under the awareness campaign ‘I Remember Intangible Cultural Heritage’ I.R.I.C.H. This campaign, is designed to bring awareness of the inherent wealth attached to cultural traditions and practice.

This wealth, which can imbue its citizens with national pride and reverence for the legacy inherited from ancestors can also be monetized to bring about economic wealth to the cultural sector. In their 2030 agenda for sustainable development, UNESCO has identified culture as a key driver for sustainable development creating decent work and economic growth. Furthermore, cultural heritage is one the sectors in the Orange Economy also defined as the Creative Industries to be that valuable opportunity for Latin America and the Caribbean to foster new economic growth.

The Official ICH launch ceremony will feature an address by the Minister of ECYS, the Honorable Wycliffe Smith, performances by Poet Tamara Groeneveldt, the Community Choir, and presentations by Department of Culture Head Clara Reyes and UNESCO Secretary General Marcellia Henry. Charity Cantave of The Johnny Caker’s will offer a presentation entitled ‘Innovation of a Traditional Eats’ and Mr. Plaisimond will share some information on the tradition of ‘Coal Keel’

As per the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, the purpose of the inventory is to identify and document the diverse elements of intangible cultural

heritage that are present and practiced in St. Maarten. The establishment of such an inventory is a major step for the safeguarding of St. Maarten’s living heritage, and will contribute towards nominating an intangible cultural heritage element onto the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The Constitution Day event will also consist of a marketplace setting where local ICH practitioners and vendors will display and sell their traditional arts, crafts, food and drink, natural remedies and products, etc. The entire public is invited to attend this event and support the wide variety of intangible heritage vendors. For further information please contact the Department of Culture, MECYS via 721-520-5340 and/or mecysdoc@gmail.com.