Governor’s address on Sint Maarten’s Day

HARBOUR VIEW, St. Maarten - Fellow Sint Maarteners, Good morning.

Sint Maarten will rise again. (repeat).

We are gathered here thanks to the grace and love of God.

It is on that grace and love that I address you on this Sint Maarten Day.

“Where over the world, say where, You find and island there, So lovely small with nations free, …. As thee Saint Martin in the sea? …… Oh I love thy paradise” What a powerful expression of our love for Sint Maarten. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians about love wrote and I quote:

“Love is patient and kind. …….It is not self-seeking, …………….. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love never fails.” Unquote.

 It is in that spirit that Marie-Louise and I wish you a most loving Sint Maarten’s Day.

I have, in keeping with the day’s theme and drawing from the Apostle Paul’s powerful words on Love, title my message: Rebuilding Sint Maarten on Grace and Love.

Sint Maarten’s Day is a special day for me. That is because it is the symbol of our bond as a friendly Sint Maarten/Saint Martin people. A bond of love for our country, a bond which places country above self.

Sint Maarten’s Day therefore reminds us that we, like a good family, must always remain bonded, united to be strong and resilient in good and hard times. To do that Sint Maarten’s Day reminds us that we must, in the tradition of our forefathers, accept and respect each other with all our differences and similarities and join forces within as well as across our north/south border.  

My Fellow Sint Maarteners,

In the aftermath of hurricane Irma, the urgency to join forces and unify our resources with mutual respect and love is greater than any time in our recent history. I need not remind you of the condition of our island. We all have experienced the hurricane and need only to look around us. We have come a long way and we have a long way to go. We, my brothers and sisters, French and Dutch, live in difficult times. We live in times when securing our jobs, rebuilding our homes, rebuilding our churches, rebuilding our businesses, rebuilding our economy, in short rebuilding our island should be our primary focus and concern. It is my primary concern. I shall therefore, in keeping with my love for my island and people, never stop trying to help lift this country up, I shall never lose faith, I shall never lose hope in our ability to rebuild and rebound. And I call on you to do the same.

At times like these it is important that we pause as a people and unite in our common cause: Sint Maarten. And it is my hope that our love for Sint Maarten will prevail over all else.

My fellow Sint Maarteners,

Looking back at my childhood I remember Sint Maarten’s day as a special day when we came together to test our sporting skills, when we came together to participate in traditional family games, when we came together to demonstrate our best as one people. Let us therefore use this Sint Maarten’s Day to reset, to refocus and to be the best we can be for Sint Maarten. A Sint Maarten that stands united in love and that is prepared to address the immense challenges we face. And in doing so realize the vision of Sint Maarten Day: to grow in unity, culturally, socially and economically.

That, my fellow Sint Maarteners, is our individual and shared responsibility to Sint Maarten/Saint Martin, our home.

It is with my undying faith in the strength and resilience of the people of Sint Maarten/St. Martin that I hereby, on behalf of my wife Marie-Louise and myself, wish you a united, loving and safe Sint Maarten’s Day.

Thank you!

God bless you!

And may God bless our beloved island and protect its coast!

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