All is set for St. Maarten/St. Martin Day on Monday, November 11, making it a long weekend for many to enjoy. It’s the Dutch side’s turn to host the annual island-wide celebration and various activities have been planned, including the official flag-raising ceremony at the Cole Bay/Bellevue Border Monument.
Last year a St. Maarten flag was also raised prior to the holiday at Bell’s Lookout Point for the occasion. The – particularly because of the timing – controversial project of placing an enormous permanent flag along with the statue on that spot had been executed soon after the devastating passage of Hurricane Irma in September 2017 by then Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI minister Christophe Emanuel.
The huge pole erected near the former Harold Jack’s Place remained mostly bare since, despite hundreds of visitors stopping there on a practically daily basis to admire the view that thus includes an empty flagpole. Taxi drivers and tour operators are among those who must regularly try to explain how come the flag is missing.
The answer is that strong winds also outside of the Atlantic hurricane season have ripped several specimens apart, while the illumination required to leave the flag up at night was not in keeping with protocol. Those seem like acceptable reasons, but it’s been two years.
In other countries, including the US, huge flags are common and easily survive minor storms, while lighting options nowadays have gotten so diverse that this aspect shouldn’t be a big problem either. If it’s possible elsewhere, why not on “The Friendly Island”?