drs. Eugene B. Holiday
Governor of Sint Maarten
Fellow St. Maarteners,
Happy St. Maarten’s Day to all. Marie-Louise and I are pleased to share in the observance of the ideals of this very special day. Today, November 11, 2018, we come together as brothers and sisters from north to south and from east to west to celebrate our St. Maarten’s Day.
A celebration where we pause to embrace everything that unites us; we pause to embrace our family ties, our friendships, our traditions, our common culture, our shared island, our shared respect and love for St. Maarten; in short to embrace our common heritage as a source of our resilience. Our common heritage that transcends across our open north/south border through our shared enduring bonds, goodwill and aspirations. A common heritage of a resilient and strong St. Maarten people, who at the core are:
1) family centered, community oriented and friendly,
2) hard working, resourceful and self-reliant,
3) have respect for self and for others,
4) live in solidarity as one people, and
5) love our Sweet St. Maarten land.
My fellow St. Maarteners, my brothers and sisters,
Drawing from the “peaceful coexistence principle” of our 370 years old Treaty of Concordia, today’s St. Maarten’s Day Theme “370 years of Unity and Friendship” highlights the enduring and resilient qualities of the people of Sint Maarten. Enduring and resilient amidst numerous challenges and threats over many, many years.
Passed on from generation to generation our core values and qualities have served to help shape and develop our friendly island into a true Caribbean Gem and a buoyant economy with ample opportunities for our people.
We are, however, for over a year now, faced with realities and challenges that make us, need these values and qualities now more than ever. Challenges as a result of the unprecedented and devastating impact of hurricane Irma, on our island’s physical infrastructure, our environment, our economy and our individual lives. Challenges to rebuild our homes, to rebuild our businesses, to maintain our jobs, to restore our public finances and to secure our livelihoods. As we work to restore, rebuild and revitalize our island, North and South, we should consider the words of Albert Einstein that, “in the middle of every difficulty, lies opportunity”. We must therefore address our challenges as opportunities for growth and renewal, as an opportunity to build resilience. As we do so we must, like those who preceded us, in solidarity and with firm and controlled determination build on the strengths of our timeless values and qualities, to rebuild a more resilient St. Maarten for future generations.
We can face these realities with the knowledge, that as a St. Maarten people we have been knocked down before, and that each time we got back up and rebounded stronger, only to soar like our brown pelican. And we can and we will do so again based on our experience that our shared bond, our friendship and our peaceful coexistence, have served as a resilient, stabilizing and enabling factor for the growth and development of our island and our people.
My fellow St. Maarteners,
St. Maarten’s Day celebration is in that regard an ideal reminder of the value and strength of our common heritage, a heritage of never ever giving up. On this Sint Maarten’s Day, in the 370th anniversary year of the Treaty of Concordia, let us thus seize the moment and recommit to our core values and qualities. Core values and qualities in which, the further development of our beloved St. Maarten is paramount in all we do. For it is only by doing so, that we will regain our lost ground, to offer and achieve the further growth and aspirations of our people. Let us therefore in our embrace of our common heritage on this St. Maarten’s day be inspired to create new opportunities and build a better future for generations to come.
My fellow Sint Maarteners, my brothers and sisters,
Anchored in my embrace of our common heritage, for a resilient, stronger and soaring St. Maarten, I hereby, on behalf of my wife Marie-Louise and myself, wish the people of Sint Maarten/Saint Martin a most pleasant, happy and safe St. Maarten’s Day.
May God bless you,
And may God bless St. Maarten and protect its coasts