PHILIPSBURG – With the date of St. Maarten’s parliamentary elections drawing near, several female candidates contesting the elections will be engaged in the Phenomenal Women Political Debate on August 20, 2014. This major event, presented by the University of St. Martin (USM) in collaboration with the “Woman 2 Woman, Phenomenal Women” radio program, will be held at the University of St. Martin lecture hall from 6:00pm - 9:00 pm, and promises to be a night filled with lively discussions from the female perspective.
To ensure the objectivity of this Debate, two phenomenal women were invited to participate as moderators. This includes former Prime Minister of the Netherlands Antilles, Maria Liberia Peters, along with Alida Francis, Acting Head/ Senior Communication Advisor of the Central Government in the Caribbean Netherlands including Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba (BES).
“Through my involvement in this event, I strive to strengthen a sense of self-confidence among these female candidates, as we work together to maintain equilibrium and invest in building consensus,” says Maria Liberia-Peters.
Maria worked as a Teacher, Supervisor of Early Childhood and Teacher at the Teacher’s College.Sparked by International Women’s Year (1975), proclaimed by The United Nations, under the theme “Equality, Development and Peace”, she started her political careeras a candidate contesting for the Legislative Council. She was elected as such and soon after was appointed as the first woman to be in the Local Executive Government of Curacao. Besides being also elected as Member of Parliament on various occasions, Maria was also the first woman to become Acting Lieutenant Governor with jurisdiction over Public Order, Immigration and Police Force. She was called to fulfill the highest political post as Prime Minister of the Central Government of The Netherlands Antilles. (1984-1985, 1988-1993).
During her period as Prime Minister she worked to build bridges between governments and people of the English and Spanish speaking Caribbean and the Dutch speaking Caribbean.During the period 1991-1994, she chaired the Board of Presiding Officers of the Standing Regional Conference for the Integration of Women in the development of Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
Maria was honored by the Queen of The Kingdom of the Netherlands with the Honor of “Grootofficier in de Orde van Oranje Nassau”, Gran Cruz del Orden de Boyaca” (Colombia), “Gran Cordon en el Orden del Libertador” (Venezuela), “Sol de Carabobo PrimeraClase” (Valencia –Venezuela)” and Proclamation of December 1st 1989 as “Prime Minister Maria Philomina, Day by Fulton County, Atlanta Georgia, U.S.A.) As a Roman Catholic Political Leader Maria was received in audience at various occasions by the late Pope John Paul Second.
Alongside Maria, Alida Francis will serve as co-moderator. Alida Francis is the Acting Head/ Senior Communication Advisor of the Central Government in the Caribbean Netherlands including Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba (BES). In this capacity Alida is responsible for planning and implementing all communication strategies for the BES islands. Alida has also served as Director of the St. Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation (STDF) since 1992 -2010;Protocol Officer for theBureau of Protocol, Island Government of St. Maarten, Philipsburg, St. Maarten 1990 – 1992, Broadcast Journalist for theFoundation Broadcasting Network (FBN), Philipsburg, St. Maarten 1989 - 1990., and Broadcast Journalist for the TheVoice of St. Maarten, PJD-2 Radio, Philipsburg, St. Maarten 1989. Producer, Reporter, news writer, news anchor of nightly news programme, Newsline 13; co-producer/host of "Weekend Magazine" a 30-minute social, cultural and educational programme. Co-host "People's Voice" weekly live call in programme aired Sunday's and hosted by popular radio personality, Mr. Lloyd Richardson. Host of Weekend Magazine a weekly radio programme covering special interests topics.
“The Debate provides the opportunity to continually examine current state of affairs, listen, observe, and communicate openly,” shares Francis.
Jointly these dynamic women will co-host the Phenomenal Women Political Debate in a manner that upholds the strong principles of objectivity, respect and professional courtesy focused on the prevalent local issues and proposed solutions.The topics of discussion include Education, Social Welfare, Elderly, Health, Pension, Labour, (Un)Employment, Jobs, Minimum Wage, Youth, Sports, Security & Safety, Crime, Governance,Legislation and Economic Development to include Tourism, Entrepreneurship, and other topics of discussion.
This exclusive event will consist of ten female debate panelists, two from each political party contesting St. Maarten’s 2014 Parliamentary Elections. The candidates chosen by their respective political parties and confirmed to participate are:
- Richelda Rodriquez Emmanuel and Mulrose Toulon(Democratic Party)
- Silveria Jacobs and Dorothy Richardson (National Alliance)
- Regina Janga and Marie-Lou Connor (One St. Maarten People Party)
- GracitaArrindell and Ingrid Arrindell (United People Party)
- Lisa Alexander and Myrna Richardson (United St. Maarten Party)
These participants all attended a candidates’ pre-briefing meeting on Thursday to discuss the overall organization of the Debate, as well as the rules of engagement. They expressed their excitement and commendations for this event to provide women with the opportunity to share their vision for St. Maarten.
The general public, female and/or male, is invited to come participate in the Phenomenal Women Political Debate event at no cost. It will also be presented online by live streaming, by television through AVS news, and radio broadcast on SOS Radio 95.9FM.
Sponsors of the Phenomenal Women Political Debate include Telem Group of Companies, B&C Beverages, Holland House Hotel, Maduro Travel, and SOS Radio 95.9FM.
For ongoing updates on the ‘Phenomenal Women Political Debate”, tune in to SOS 95.9FM every Sunday from 12:30-1:30PM.