Arrindell speaks at AUC's Commencement Ceremony on Saturday

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The following speech was delivered by the President of Parliament Hon. drs. Gracita Arrindell at the American University of the Caribbean, Saturday May 26, 2012:

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, PROTOCOL HAVING BEEN ESTABLISHED, LET ME MERELY SAY A VERY GOOD AFTERNOON TO YOU AND TURN MY ATTENTION IMMEDIATELY TO THE PEOPLE OF THE MOMENT - OUR FLEDGLING PHYSICIANS WHO AFTER YEARS OF TOIL - AND OF BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL - HAVE TODAY ARRIVED AT THAT BIG DAY IN THEIR LIVES.

TO THE GRADUATING CLASS, I WISH TO SAY CONGRATULATIONS. YOU HAVE WORKED HARD AND YOU HAVE ACHIEVED MUCH.

AS I STAND BEFORE YOU TODAY, I KNOW WHY I AM NOT A DOCTOR BECAUSE I AM REMINDED OF THE PATIENT WHO IS VERY MUCH LIKE ME. THE STORY IS TOLD THAT YEARS AGO, SHE WALKED INTO THE DOCTOR'S SURGERY AND COMPLAINED ABOUT PAIN EVERYWHERE.

SHE SAID: "DOCTOR WHEN I PRESS WITH MY FINGER HERE... IT HURTS, AND WHEN I PRESS HERE... IT HURTS, AND HERE... AND HERE... IT HURTS. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS WRONG WITH ME?"

"YOU HAVE A BROKEN FINGER!" THE DOCTOR REPLIED.

WELL, YOU ARE THE WISE ONES AND THAT'S WHY YOU HAVE OPTED TO BE DOCTORS. THAT IS WHY I'LL BE PREPARED TO BE YOUR PATIENT.

TODAY, YOU ARE FEELING THAT YOU ARE ON TOP OF THE WORLD, AS INDEED YOU SHOULD. YOU ARE ABOUT TO BE CAPPED AND TO TAKE THE HIPPOCRATIC OATH WHICH HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS "A RITE OF PASSAGE FOR PRACTITIONERS OF MEDICINE" AND BY WHICH YOU WILL PLEDGE TO UPHOLD A NUMBER OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICAL STANDARDS."

IT IS MY HOPE FOR YOU THAT YOU EXCEL IN WHATEVER YOU DO. MY PRAYER FOR YOU IS THAT YOU ALL BECOME GREAT PROFESSIONALS HEALING THE SICK, CURING DISEASES, HELPING PEOPLE TO PULL THEIR LIVES TOGETHER, OFFERING RELIEF TO THE SUFFERING, DOING ALL THESE THINGS WITH GREAT DIGNITY, PRIDE AND HUMILITY AS YOU RELY ON THE COMMON TOUCH.

YOU WILL PROBABLY MAKE LOADS OF MONEY IN YOUR PRACTICE, BUT LET THAT NOT BE YOUR GOAL. ALWAYS BE CONSCIOUS OF YOUR OWN HUMANITY AND OF YOUR OWN MORTALITY. MOST OF ALL, BE HUMBLE, BE HUMBLE AND GREAT FULL; TO YOUR PARENTS, YOUR GUARDIANS, YOUR TEACHERS.

YES, YOU ARE ABOUT TO BECOME PHYSICIANS AFTER YEARS OF STUDY AT THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF THE CARIBBEAN WHICH IS NOW A PART OF THE PRESTIGIOUS DEVRY UNIVERSITY, AND WHICH HAS ESTABLISHED ITSELF HERE IN ST. MAARTEN AS A RESPECTED AND MUCH-LIKED COMMUNITY –MINDED INSTITUTION OF GREAT WORTH – OF GREAT VALUE.

AS YOU LEAVE THIS INCREASINGLY WELL-RECOGNISED INSTITUTION AND PREPARE TO ENTER THE REAL WORLD OF REAL WORK, YOU ARE TAKING A PIECE OF ST. MAARTEN WITH YOU AND YOU GO WITH OUR BLESSINGS. TAKE GOOD CARE OF IT. BE PROUD OF IT AND BE WILLING ALLWAYS TO SHOUT FROM THE ROOFTOP AND TELL THE WORLD THAT YOU STUDIED HERE AT AUC IN ST. MAARTEN, MY ISLAND, YOUR ISLAND OUR ISLAND.

ONCE AGAIN GRADUATING CLASS, CONGRATULATIONS.

I WOULD HAVE FAILED IN MY DUTY HERE THIS AFTERNOON IF I DID NOT CONGRATULATE THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF THE CARIBBEAN AND DEVRY UNIVERSITY – THE OWNERS, THE MANAGEMENT, THE FACULTY, THE STUDENTS AND ALL OTHER PERSONS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS ESTABLISHMENT - ON THE SPLENDID WORK THEY HAVE DONE, AND ARE DOING, HERE IN ST. MAARTEN AS THEY CONTINUE TO MAKE INVALUABLE CONTRIBUTIONS TO COMMUNITY LIFE THROUGH THEIR VOLUNTEER WORK EVEN AS THEY MAKE SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS TO ST. MAARTEN'S ECONOMY.

THE FACT THAT LATER THIS AFTERNOON THERE WILL BE A GROUND-BREAKING CEREMONY AT WHICH DEVRY WILL KICK OFF PHASE ONE OF ITS AUC CAMPUS EXPANSION PROJECT SPEAKS VOLUMES OF THE INSTITUTION'S CONFIDENCE IN ST. MAARTEN, ITS PEOPLES AND ITS ECONOMY.

FINALY; I LEAVE YOU WITH THIS QUOTE FROM A GREAT HUMANITARIAN AND VISIONARY DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. WHO SAID;"IF MAN HAS NOT DISCOVERED SOMETHING THAT HE WILL DIE FOR, HE ISN'T FIT TO LIVE". LIVE ON LIVE GOOD, LIVE GREAT.

ON BEHALF OF PARLIAMENT AND THE PEOPLE OF ST. MAARTEN I SAY A BIG "THANK YOU." I WISH YOU EVERY SUCCESS IN YOUR ENDEAVOURS. LET US CONTINUE ON THIS JOURNEY OF GROWTH TOGETHER.

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