WILLEMSTAD – Military and civilian personnel from the various sections of the Defense in the Caribbean were awarded the Commemorative Medal for Humanitarian Assistance in Disasters at Naval Base Parera.
The awards were presented by the Commander of the Navy in the Caribbean, Brigade-General of the Navy Peter Jan de Vin, Governor Lucille George Wout of Curaçao and Governor Eugene Holiday of Sint Maarten. Among the invited guests was also the Prime Minister of Curaçao Eugene Rhuggenaath and Colonel Sandra Keijer of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (Royal Police).
Prior to the presentation of the awards, Brigadier General of the Navy Peter Jan de Vin and Governor Eugene Holiday addressed the attendees. Holiday delivered words of thanks from the people of St. Martin. “You were called to help us and came to our aid, this brings us together and makes us strong together”. The governor also referred to the words of Queen Wilhelmina, which she pronounced in a radio speech in 1942. “Wilhelmina said 75 years before the disaster: based on our own strength but with the will to help each other. Her vision is still a great thing in times of need. You have granted that vision with military assistance.”
Brigadier General of the Navy Peter Jan de Vin looked back at the emergency relief operation in his speech: “Sint Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius and the population were not alone, that was our message and it quickly became visible in decisive action that you were part of.
You gave the helping hand. Connectedness in the Kingdom in optima forma. No empty words but very tangible in the execution. Recognition for that work by means of the presentation of this Commemorative medal is therefore very appropriate.”
Next Thursday, the Commander of the Navy in the Caribbean and the Governor of Sint Maarten will hand out the awards in Sint Maarten. A medal ceremony will be held in Aruba on 4 July.