Fellow St. Martiners,
As we celebrate the 60th commemoration of St. Martin Day, let us recognize and be thankful that notwithstanding the many challenges we have faced over the past decades, we have managed to hold on to this day. The creators of St. Martin Day, Dr. Petit and Dr. Wathey wanted to celebrate the oneness of the St. Martin people. Their enthusiasm for this day was inspired by the St.Martin people.
No doubt, 1648, the year of the Treaty of Concordia, is an important year in our nation’s history, as it marks the peaceful coexistence after centuries of warring occupation of our island. But St. Martin Day is a day inspired by ‘We the People’. That’s ‘We Story.’
That’s how come my navel-string is buried in Marigot. That’s how come my grandfather was caught bootlegging in Grand Case. That’s how come when hurricane
Donna struck, I was at my aunt’s in Concordia. There were a few times in the past years, when it seemed as if we were bent on cutting the cords that bind us, but thankfully it never happened. There were times when tempers flared and harsh words spoken, but today we still stand strong.
This day’s 60th observance, is testimony to the fact that regardless of what tends to get between us, that what keeps us together is resilient and strong.
Any attempts to throw a wedge between the 2 parts of this unique island have until now always met with resistance. We have firmly stood together when it mattered most. It is evident nevertheless, that as leaders, we are so caught up with the daily management of our individual responsibilities, that the collective issues we face as one island are too often relegated to second place. Even so, we have managed to maintain the oneness, the openness, the freedoms for our people, as if one. However, we must always remember that the world we live in is becoming more complex by the day. The powers that be, the French Republic and the Kingdom of the Netherlands are subject to global demands themselves and in turn they look at us to be in synch , with little regard for our limitations as a small island state.
We can not continue to take for granted the bonds that has kept us together for centuries. And if nothing else, every St. Martin Day should serve to reaffirm our commitment to the oneness of our island and its people. It is time we conceive a modern-day “Treaty of Concordia”, but this time by us and for us, thereby reaffirming the very essence of St. Martin Day.
Happy St. Martin Day