Tuesday, Aug 16th

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Hotseat - Daniel Saint Fleur

You'll know Daniel from his years working with Cariburo as the Telecom Technician, or possibly from his more recent appointment with Dauphin Telecom on the French side, where he works as the NOC Manager. Daniel is in charge of placing, servicing, and maintaining the Network Operation Centres on the Island, but not limited to.... St. Martin. Indeed he also travels to the neighbouring French Islands and French Guyana.

Daniel is a fantastic salsa dancer, who you'll have seen dancing at La Bamba with his dance partner Laura. Together they give dance classes at La Bamba on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 till 9:00pm, after which the free dancing starts. They have already developed great dancers, who continue to frequent the Salsa scene. Now, if you haven't reached that level yet or you need to learn how to dance Salsa from scratch, then you can bet on it that within short Daniel and Laura will instil in you the passion for this lively dance. Daniel also gives lessons at Arawak Bar in Marigot, every Wednesday from 7:00pm till 9:30pm. With 2 other Salseros he organizes Salsa dance parties on the market place in Marigot, in addition to his monthly gig at Arawak, which the Salsa contingency looks forward too.

Daniel is specialized in Cuban salsa, which is on one. It's a very upbeat and fun to watch form of Salsa. It's the style where you'll find that the dancers are happy, smiley and always on cue.

Where were you born & tell me a little about where you grew up?

I was born in Port au Prince, Haiti, and came to St Maarten when I was 12. I finished school here on the Island after which I left, to continue my studies.

I grew up in Rambaud in a close knit community; I made great friends with whom I still am in contact. I moved to Guadeloupe to study and completed my internship in France, after which I returned to the Island.

Where did you go to school?

I finished primary school here at Ecole du Centre (now Nina Duverly), and continued on to College Mont des Accords secondary school in Marigot. I then travelled to Guadeloupe and studied Telecommunications at the University. Upon my return to St. Maarten after I graduated, my first job was with Cariburo as the telecom technician. We serviced companies on both the French and Dutch side of the Island.

Where do you currently work, what is your profession?

Currently I work at Dauphin Tele Communications, I take care of the Fibre Optics and therefore I am on the road quite a bit, however, I also do many hours in the office. We've supplied the entire French part of the Island from Fr. Lowlands till French Quarter with Fibre for a better High Speed Internet and Data Transmission.

You are an avid salsa dancer. Where did you learn to dance salsa?

I went twice to Cuba for work, attending trade shows and expositions; that's where I was introduced to Salsa. I really liked it and then started looking for a place to learn how to dance Salsa.

I started taking lessons while I was living in Guadeloupe from Cuban instructor "Gilfredo", a fabulous salsa dancer. I had never danced Salsa before, I was a break dancer when I was a youngster, but I had never danced Latin dances. As soon as I started, I immediately loved it and got hooked.

You now give Salsa lessons, tell me a little about that?

I give lessons at Arawak and La Bamba, I teach both beginners and advanced classes, Wednesdays and Tuesdays. My goal has always been to let people know that Salsa isn't as complicated as people think. My target is the youth. I would like them to dance, instead of hanging out on street corners. I am trying to transmit my passion for dance to others, basically that's my goal.

Besides working and dancing salsa, do you have any other hobbies or interests?

I enjoy Football (Soccer), I don't support a particular team, and however, I'm paying close attention to "Paris Saint-Germain". Sports in general have my interest; athletics also is a sport I enjoy to watch. During the Olympics I'm glued to my TV.

What are your ambitions for the future? Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

I can imagine I'll be here in St. Maarten; I will still be dancing if I can help it. I would really be happy if I can make a difference with the situation among the youth in St. Martin / St. Maarten. I'd like to see that they gain a passion for something positive in life, it doesn't have to be dancing, needless to say, that is where I can pitch in.

Do you have any days off from work, if so what do you do on those days?

I have the weekends off. I try to spend that time off with my family. I have three children of which one lives in Guadeloupe and the other two are here with me and my partner. We do chores together, which we make fun as a family and of course we frequent the beach and movies. We've started playing a card game called "Belote" which has kept us quite occupied this holiday.

If you could invite 3 famous people (dead or alive) for dinner, who would they be; what would be the one question you would ask and what would you serve them to eat?

- Alberic Richards - What would you propose we do to improve education on the Island?

- My partner's Mother "Yayo" - I would congratulate her for her sensitivity towards her environment and life in general.

- President Obama – Do you really believe that any human institution is able to destroy the world and how could this happen?

I would serve them all Banane Pese, which is the Haitian version of Tostones, which I'd serve with Griot (which is fried pork meat) with salad.