This first gesture is a true sign of unity.
The starting of St. Martin day began on the day I heard the St. Martin Smile Again song and the St. Martin song, at the gathering on the Waterfront. We have been hearing it over and over again. I want to appeal to everyone, do not look for it only in our leaders, but to dig deep down in ourselves because we need leaders in our homes, in every business, in every school, and in every area of St. Martin.
Irma is shining a light, which is forcing us to turn on our own lights, to be the light at the end of the tunnel. We are once again, similar to after hurricane Luis, displaying resilience, brother- and sisterhood, UNITY. Sadly, somehow, as soon as electrivy and water were restored, we began forgetting about our neighbors. Let us not allow another Hurricane Irma or Luis remind us who we are as St. Martin people. We must continue to share and care for each other.
Madame Vice President Damaseau and myself want to celebrate who we are, our music, our dance, our arts, our hearts and our souls, as we pour out our talents and skills to ensure this St. Martin day is a day to remember. We do not need to focus on the Dutch or French flag, or even the St. Martin flag; we must focus on the People. St. Martin is you, St. Martin is me, St. Martin is us. Celebrate it with us, knowing what we have been through, and appreciating and thanking God for where we are and knowing where we can be again. It doesn’t have to be that it happened under ‘my watch’; let us say that it happened under ‘our watch’. Today, we will have parades, there will be sporting events, and music galore from the sweet sounds of pan, the drums, the bongos, to the rap, reggae and even dancehall.
Two months after we thought we had nothing, we have johnny cake, soup, salt fish, patay, fried fish, conchs; let us help our vendors ‘tun dey hand’ because that is also part of being sweet St. Martin. As Governemtn of St. Maarten, we allowed all vendors to register without charge as a good gesture towards the people of St. Martin. We would also like to thank all the artist who made the SXMSTRONG song possible, by donating their talents and skills for the love of St. Martin. Let us never let another hurricane come to remind us that we are St. Martin Strong and we are smiling again.
Happy St. Martin Day and God bless you, the people of St. Martin!