PHILIPSBURG - On Friday, June 16, Mr. Kurt Ruan of SOG stated in The Daily Herald that SCDF (St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation) had made a request to government four years ago to take over the management of the Festival Village and that this request was denied, the SCDF said in a press statement on Friday, adding that the SCDF, “…would like to make it clear this is absolutely not true.”
“The SCDF, while seeking permanent office space for the first time in its history, made a request to government to consider allowing the foundation to use the conference room in the Festival Village as its office. Government in turn said SOG indicated that it needed the space so it could not grant permission at that time. That was it.
“Mr. Ruan also mentioned that SOG offered SCDF the opportunity to work together. Mr. Ruan did not state that SOG is an entity with a proven record of double-speak. The SCDF over the years has offered many suggestions and ideas to SOG on how to improve the usability of the village.
“In fact, SOG's "way" is to sit back, wait for every Carnival season, observe in which creative ways SCDF utilizes the Village, then turn and attach fees to everything SCDF wishes to do in the village the following year.
“Furthermore, Mr. Ruan did not mention how SOG, through unilateral decisions regarding how the Village is used and by whom, have made Carnival in general much more expensive for all stakeholders across the board and prevents promoters and organizations from obtaining sponsorship from certain companies.
“SOG’s unilateral actions regarding the Festival Village has permanently blocked major sponsors from even entering the Village and, as a consequence, has cost Carnival and its stakeholders thousands over the past few years.
“SOG makes unilateral decisions in the Festival Village, a venue for which it does not possess a management agreement with government. SCDF is accustomed of Mr. Ruan mis-representing facts privately, but will not allow him to do so publicly now that we have decided to bring this matter to the Prime Minister, Minister of Culture and, most importantly, the public.
“SCDF believes it can manage the facility and finally utilize it fully so that everyone can make use of it under fair and realistic conditions. The SCDF looks forward to outlining these and many more issues to government and then the public once we are so far,” the SCDF press release concludes.