I am pleased to join you this evening to celebrate the first anniversary of your program “Guided Living” aimed at increasing the independence of our brothers and sisters. I am pleased to be here because it is my opinion that this program is important on two levels, on a community and on an individual level. And in addition to that I am more than pleased to be here with you, because homecare, elderly care and, amongst others, care for persons with disabilities is of great importance in our economics driven and rushed society!
On a community level your “Guided Living Program” is testimony of the character of our Sint Maarten Society. I say this based on the knowledge that the true moral make-up of our society is measured by the way we treat our citizens in general and even more so by the way we care for our most vulnerable citizens. The fact that the management and staff of the White & Yellow Cross Sister Basilia Center decided to take action to broaden the level of care it provides, from assistance to independence, for our mentally and physically challenged brothers and sisters, says a lot about their commitment to their mission: to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities in our society.
Let us therefore as a community, individually and together, join the Sister Basilia Center in supporting our challenged brothers and sisters. Let us do so by, among others, offering them opportunities in the work place, an opportunity which is so critical to being independent in our society.
For it is only through broad community support that the importance of this White and Yellow Cross initiative will achieve its full potential. A potential which will greatly enhance the quality of life for the individuals involved. For at the end of the day this initiative is about individuals and its immeasurable significance on an individual level for these persons.
As I said earlier this initiative is important not only on a community but also on an individual level. And that is because being in a position to be self-reliant is one of the greatest goods any individual can have. It increases a person’s confidence, self-esteem, happiness and overall wellbeing. The decision of the White and Yellow Cross management to develop and implement this program must therefore be applauded and supported. For I am sure that you agree with me that it is always better to teach someone how to do something than to do it for them. As a result let us join the White and Yellow Cross in their mission to support each of these individuals to take his or her rightful place in our society. A mission which I personally believe is not only for the White and Yellow Cross but for the entire society of Sint Maarten.
I therefore close my remarks encouraging the management, staff and our challenged brothers and sisters to continue striving to achieve the full potential of this important initiative. I am particularly pleased to hear of and see the successes achieved after one year. It is thus fitting that we on this 1st anniversary of the program put our hands together and applaud the efforts of specifically our challenged brothers and sisters for their courage and effort in striving for their independence, in striving to achieve their full potential and with that their rightful place in society.
As such I congratulate each of you, as well as the White and Yellow Cross Sister Basilia Center and the institutions and persons that have supported the program to date. As you continue this good work, I call on and challenge others to contribute to a successful second year and beyond. And likewise I shall continue to follow the developments of and give the program my support.
Thank you and May god bless you.