PHILIPSBURG:--- On this Constitution Day, we mark five years of St. Maarten having obtained country status within the Kingdom. As we reflect on the experiences that have helped to shape the country we are today, it is important that we all acknowledge our continued role in building a St. Maarten we can be proud of, a nation that is an example to the region. Building a nation is no simple task; there are countless factors to consider. There is a path that we travel on as our little country continues to grow. Along the way, we have and will continue to encounter specific challenges and enticing opportunities that will serve to either move our country forward or set it back. These are not bound by their definitions; they are interwoven with one another in that our challenges can double as opportunities.
Political instability, for example, is a long-standing issue plaguing our country, yet it represents a specific opportunity for government to improve the country’s record on integrity and accountability. Our financial situation, indeed a priority concern for Government, gives us the chance to be fiscally responsible and prosperous if properly and responsibly addressed. With these tackled, we unlock key opportunities afforded to us by our country status. We have the power to improve our presence on the international plane, with the benefit of a rebounding world and national economy behind us. However, opportunities that cross our path can be hidden obstacles that challenge us to do the right thing when presented with an opportunity that in reality is not in the interest of the people. How do we achieve all this? By recognising and working together to fix what is in my view our greatest challenge: a culture of not truly making positive change. As I have said since inauguration day, our progress towards greatness begins and ends with us; there is no other way forward. And we will get there, through tranquility, civility and stability.
Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs
Our Culture plays a Key Role in Nation Building
As citizens of St. Maarten, it is of utmost importance to preserve our tangible and intangible heritage, which would help us to identify clearly who we are as a people, St. Maarteners!, which can inspire positive change, stability and unity during a time of crisis. If we do not bring awareness to our community about our history and culture, we are all missing out on an accurate view of our society and successfully building our Nation. We also need to continuously educate our young and old, why we as a people can celebrate Constitution Day and ensure it becomes a part of the curriculum in all schools.
Significant positive change in St. Maarten; has become a burning desire in the hearts and minds of our people. In order to bring about that significant change, it is essential for the strong leaders in our different districts, to see past party lines, assemble the people in each district together in large numbers, assume leadership seriously and form groups that will work together to start building powerful beneficial principles, on which that district will exist. We will eventually have a wider range of ideas, customs, and wisdom to solve problems and enrich community life, and that way of living, will certainly affect the quality life. Each group, whether cultural or not, will have unique strengths and perspectives, that the larger community, St. Maarten, can benefit from. I encourage all of us to work towards building St. Maarten, because we are a people of perseverance and courage.
I wish all the citizens of St. Maarten a Happy Constitution Day.
May God Continue to bless St. Maarten.
Mrs. Rita Bourne-Gumbs
Minister of Education, Culture, Youth & Sports