Published On: Sun, Dec 3rd, 2017

Royal visit: From nature and students to Red Cross and steel pans

Royal Couple commence royal visit - SXM Airport arrival 20171202 - HH

PHILIPSBURG – A slight rain in the afternoon could not put a damper on Saturday’s royal visit to St. Maarten by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima, but the visit still seemed a bit lackluster because – unlike during earlier royal visits – not many citizens came out on the streets to catch a glimpse of the royal couple.

The royals arrived around 10 a.m. on a Winair flight where they were received by Governor drs. Eugène Holiday and his wife, Prime Minister Rafael Boasman and airport director Michel Hyman.

Royal Couple -with Tadzio Bervoets 20171202 - HH

From there the tour took the royals to the causeway bridge where Nature Foundation director Tadzio Bervoets gave a presentation about Hurricane Irma’s effect on the Simpson Bay Lagoon. Vromi-Minister Christophe Emmanuel was present, as were Nature Foundation chairman Jan Beaujon, as well as other board members.

Royal Couple - At Charlotte Brookson Academy 20171202 - HH

The next stop was at the Charlotte Brookson Academy, currently housed in a tent-like facility on the ring road. There, Minister Silveria Jacobs (Education, Culture, Youth and Sport) received them together with May Ling Chun, the interim president of the board and director Claudette Forsythe-Labega.

Royal Couple -Flash mob 2 at CBA 20171202 - HH

Students played an important role in this part of the program. K’Maya Lake, the public relations officer of the student body government welcomes the King and Queen, Sidkenie Toulon performed a welcome song, followed by musical renditions by the school’s choir, a poem recited by Angelique Helligar and a dance performance. As the royals exited the pavilion, a dance flashmob entertained them.

Royal Couple -In the kitchen at Sundial school with Gov Holiday and Raymond Knops in the background 20171202 - HH

After this performance, the tour continued to the Sundial School that now functions as a food distribution center for the Red Cross. The royals met with Red Cross volunteers and with host Jesper Jansweijer. They also took a look in the kitchen where the Red cross prepares 8,000 meals per day for 4,000 students of 18 different schools. Up to Saturday, the kitchen had prepared 192,00 meals for these students.

Royal Couple -Group picture with Red Cross volunteers 20171202 - HH

In the afternoon there was a visit to Qredits, the microfinancing organization located in the Miss Lalie commercial center on Bush Road. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima talked about micro financing with four business owners who received, or are about to receive, a loan to get them back on their feet after the damages they sustained from the hurricane.

Royal Couple -Queen Maxima talks microcredits 20171202 - HH

In Fort Willem, the king and queen met with Nilva St. Jago, a citizen who lost her home during the hurricane but who nevertheless continues to support others.

At the Festival Village, the royals took a look at the reverse osmosis water plant where they received an explanation from GEBE-director Kendrick Chittick.

Royal Couple -Minister Emil Lee welcomes royal couple to the Festival Village 20171202 - HH

In the festival village, Minister Emil Lee received the royal couple. They visited one of the families living in a shelter at this location. At the end of their program, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima met with Isidore York – the Mighty Dow – and his steel pan players. After an entertaining presentation by York that brought a smile to the face of the queen, the royals tried their hand at playing the steel pans.

Royal Couple -With Isidore York - the Mighty Dow 20171202 - HH Royal Couple -King and queen try their hand at steel pan music 20171202 - HH

Photos by Hilbert Haar.

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