by Ralph Cantave

GREAT BAY, St. Martin (May 1, 2016)—The Peridot Foundation will contribute to the sponsorship of the 14th annual St. Martin Book Fair, June 2 – 4, 2016, said the Hon. drs. Gracita Arrindell.

This is the third time that Peridot has teamed up with the nation’s literary festival to sponsor an important aspect of the book fair. A lover of books herself, drs. Arrindell is a published editor and former president of the Parliament of St. Maarten. She founded Peridot in 2000, “to create awareness about domestic violence with emphasis on breaking its cycles of violence” in families and relationships.

“We are very happy to present to the people of our island a world-class scientist,   Dr. Camille Wardrop Alleyne, to deliver the opening ceremony address of the St. Martin Book Fair on June 2. And a life-line sponsorship by the Peridot Foundation will go toward the appearance of the keynote speaker,” said Jacqueline Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP). The theme of book fair 2016 is “The Science of It.”

As an NGO, Peridot mostly sponsors activities that aid in combatting domestic violence, hosts lectures on the issue, and is responsible for the anti-child abuse statue at the Cul-de-sac roundabout, said drs. Arrindell.

Drs. Arrindell’s love for literature involved her for many years as a volunteer reader of Dutch and English books to students at the Sr. Borgia Elementary School.

A society that is not increasingly literate about itself and the world “is a society that loses part of its soul and doesn’t put much into ‘who we are’ and ‘where we’re going,’” said drs. Arrindell. She has an active personal reading life and believes in “the value of writing and creativity.”

Furthermore, “with reading and comprehension one is able to defend oneself,” said drs. Arrindell. “I also encourage young people to read and use the opportunities they have with technology to explore and create.” During her term as the first president of Parliament, drs. Gracita Arrindell established the President of Parliament Award “to encourage young people to help in the development of the community.”

Drs. Arrindell also edited the book, Looking Back to Move Forward, which was published by HNP in 2005. The book contains one interview and five speeches by former prime ministers of the Netherlands Antilles about their experiences in office before the Territory was dismantled by 2010.

The love of books, volunteer reading for children, organizing engaging conferences, book publishing, and the ongoing work of Peridot Foundation are all connected to “helping to bring more of an awareness” to the development of society, said drs. Arrindell. One of the reasons that drs. Gracita Arrindell believes “in supporting authors to come to the island” is to help “encourage reading” and spread more awareness in various areas of individual growth and nation building.

In 2007 and 2011 respectively, the Peridot Foundation contributed to the sponsorship of the St. Martin Book Fair guest speakers Chiqui Vicioso, a leading Dominican Republic author and ambassador, and Derek Walcott, the Nobel laureate from St. Lucia.

Conscious Lyrics Foundation and HNP are organizing the 14th edition of the St. Martin Book Fair in collaboration with the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, University of St. Martin (USM), LC Fleming Foundation, GEBE, and St. Martin Tourist Office.

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Hon. drs. Gracita Arrindell, founder of Peridot, commends the St. Martin Book Fair “for consecutively hosting the event.” Philipsburg Jubilee Library, 2016.