A few centuries ago.. people were stripped,  stolen of their land, their rights, their identities and all this on our island of Soualiga. Today 2023 is no different but we already knew that.  Either way.. i must share this, and say something about it. Note that i refer to Sint Maarten as Soualiga.. throughout this blog, I will refer to SXM using both terms interchangeably.. but know that my preference is Soualiga. The name "Sint Maarten" was given to us by barbarians, and therefore it doesn't feel right to use that name but I will for the sake of reference.  I also don't use St Martin as a ref for St Maarten. but that's me. The real history of what Columbus, and his entourage, among others, did to our Caribbean is unspeakable. What they taught us in school about these clowns is unforgivable. Anyway.. that's a topic for another blog. This is about the structures in Diamond Estate. 
I was lucky enough, to have been invited back in September of 2022 by fellow local artists, to scope the progress of the efforts made to clean up, and preserve this area known as part of Diamond Estate, where we held a presentation for delegates of the Netherlands the following day. 

These are the most recent, and final images I will have ever taken of the area. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Why?
Sadly.. on January 22nd into the 23rd, 2023  like a thief in the night.. they came.. they bulldozed.. they again stole.. what little is left of our history, and culture. 
for 'development' aka for selling out Sint Maarten / Soualiga to foreign investors (it is never the local in mind when these things take place.) More and more development on our island, and we locals are nowhere near to even being able to afford one of these places ourselves eh. They are created for wealthy foreigners. 
NOT LOCALS..... never... locals.... (am i lying?)
in the 3 images below... you can see another structure at the back.. also removed now.  unacceptable. I regret not taking more images of that part of the area.. as they were busy cleaning and I thought I would return one day for more images. Carpe Diem eh?
Well..  good thing i snapped what i did. This is why i photograph everything... if my heart says .. pull out the camera.. i pull it out. Funny enough i was driving past there Sunday and thought..." I really should stop there and take some pics because.. we never know when they will destroy it like they do so much else which should be preserved. "and BAM.. this evening, I receive this news. lesson: always listen to that intuition, and act accordingly. sigh. 
it is appalling really, in my opinion, the destruction of these structures is the utmost disrespect, and this is (as i understand) is allowed by our LOCAL government.  incredible ! They destroyed the slave wall on LB Scott Road.. they destroyed NUMEROUS structures in Ebenezer estate to build homes.. (I have always asked myself.. but why not build AROUND such structures.. it is possible.. but those who are driven by money.. fail to see the importance of preserving these areas. There are rumours of Indian graves being destroyed down Cupecoy area for their precious hotels, villas, and YUP... developments. Again.. could have been preserved. We can be mad at investors .. but government is who allows this. Anyway....
Pictured above are local artists Head of Culture Clara Reyes, Fellow Photographer & Artist Lisandro Suriel and Poet Rochelle Ward. September 05 2022. 
Here above we have what was probably a cistern. Imagine.. every stone was placed there by hand. While on the land and photographing.. one could feel the energy.. the vibrations.. of the history.. on that land. who feel it knows. The images below are a bit darker qua light.. but i am including them anyway as , these are again.. the last and final images I will have ever taken of this area. as of today it is gone. 
The stone wall structure was built by slaves, the history here .. the importance of these structures.. just wow. . Only to be bulldozed... for fancy modern developments which locals cannot ever afford. It should have been revered, and preserved as a historical culture for centuries to come.  A reminder of our history, a reminder of those who paid for life with their lives. ​​​​​​​It is just .. devastating.. to continue to see these things happen on this island. incredible. Look at our hills ! .. chopped up.. revolting. God Help Us when another hurricane comes and there are no hills to prevent mud floods and worse. Does our SXM Government think? 
yes.. only about themselves as they have shown us over the years. maybe you dislike me... maybe not.. but all in all.. i am not against development.. i am against the destruction of our local historical structures.. our identity. if you are gonna come to the island and love the island and be part of it.. by all means.. more than welcome.. but we are seeing more and more investors come here to destroy and take over.  That's not ok. not in any country is that ever ok. Convince me otherwise... I'll wait.​​​​​​​
Thank you for reading, and if you care about this. Thank you for caring. 

Read the Newspaper Article here
Mini Photoshoot with Rochelle Ward here
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