Officials reflect on the passing of hurricane Irma during St. Maarten Day celebrations

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Prayers, songs of praise, poetry and steal pan music filled the air Saturday morning, during the traditional ecumenical service in front of the New Government building. The morning’s event attracted many persons, including a delegation from the French side of the island.

In attendance for the mass were amongst others, representatives of the Collectivité, including the president Daniel Gibbs and Prefet Madame Anne Laubies, the Governor of St. Maarten, His Excellency drs. Eugene B. Holliday, members of the Council of Ministers headed by Prime Minister, the Honorable William Marlin as well as Members of Parliament, including the Chairlady, the Honorable Sarah Wescot Williams.

Shortly after the services, officials of the St. Martin and the hosts, St. Maarten had the opportunity to address the gathering. The theme for this year’s St. Maarten Day was “#SXMSTRONG-re-building our nation”, which was also reflected in the remarks of the various speakers.  Speaking at the ceremony Saturday morning, His Excellency, Governor Eugene B. Holliday reminded the gathering of their priority. “Rebuilding the island should be our primary focus and concern.

It is my primary focus and concern,” adding that with his love for the island and its people, never stop trying to help lift this country up. He remark: “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.” It for this reason the Governing is calling on the community to use this St. Maarten Day to reset, to refocus and to be the best we can be for St. Maarten. 

The Chairlady of Parliament is the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams. Whilst speaking on the occasion of the celebrations of St. Maarten Day, she assured the gathering that we as a people will overcome and that St. Maarten will rise again, following the devastation caused by hurricane Irma.

President of the Collectivité, Daniel Gibbs, seized the moment to remember the 15 persons who died on the island, as the result of the passing of hurricane Irma on September 6th, as well as Madam Fleming, who deceased last week at the age of 101 years old. Mr. Gibbs, who observed the day as president of the Collectivité for the very first time, also reflected on the devastation caused to the island by the passing of hurricane Irma.

Meanwhile, the interim Prime Minister of St. Maarten, the Honorable William Marlin stated that this St. Maarten Day is like no other that we have celebrated, since the holiday was established jointly by two St. Maarten patriots in 1959, the late Hubert Petite and the late Dr. Wathey.

Whilst addressing the gathering Saturday morning, the Prime Minister also made reference to the unity between the both sides of the island. He further said: “For me this St. Maarten Day is about lifting our spirits, renewing our strength, by returning to those very same core values that made us survive and thrive throughout history,” adding when others had written us off demanding of us that we bow our heads and beg.

“Let me say this loud and clear. St. Maarten people have never been beggars,” the Prime Minister said.

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