PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten -
A TRIBUTE TO QUEEN BEATRIX
Good evening and welcome to this historic Queens Birthday celebration, so beautifully opened with the Wilhelmus and the Sint Maarten Song as rendered by the Majestic Voices of La Vaune Henry and Benjamin Bell.
The celebration is historic because it comes on the eve of the abdication of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix and the inauguration of His Majesty King Willem Alexander on April 30th, meaning that as of next year we will be celebrating King’s Day and not Queens Birthday. As a result I have decided to dedicate this evening’s celebration as a: Tribute to Her Majesty Queen Beatrix.
Our gathering tonight at Fort Amsterdam to celebrate the last Queens Birthday of the reign of Queen Beatrix is Symbolic, Significant and Historic. Symbolic because the abdication of Queen Beatrix and inauguration of King Willem Alexander on April 30th will take place in Amsterdam. Significant because this 17th century fort, named Fort Amsterdam, underscores the long standing bond between Sint Maarten and the Netherlands. And Historic because it is the last of Queen Beatrix’s thirty three years reign and the last of 123 successive years of Queens Birthday Celebrations.
One year ago standing at this same location I stated and I quote: “This location has been chosen because of its beautiful scenic view, because of its historic significance and because of what it teaches us about the importance of Heritage Preservation, with a view of sharing with and passing on to future generations.” As such what better place is there to gather for and celebrate this significant, historic and symbolic Queens Birthday than on this unique part of Sint Maarten’s Historic Heritage, Fort Amsterdam.
The choice to celebrate here tonight is intended to pay a fitting tribute to her Majesty. We shall as a result focus on the bond with the royal family through Queen Beatrix
Noteworthy is that tonight we stand at the eve of the birthday of our future King Willem Alexander. As such we have double reason to highlight the historic ties of our community with the Royal Family through the granting of Royal Decorations this evening.
Ladies and gentlemen, over the years several of our residents have been placed in the spotlight by bestowing on them the honor of a Royal Decoration in recognition of their outstanding service to our community.
The persons selected to be awarded a Royal Decoration here this evening are part of the last group of persons to receive a Royal Decoration Decree signed by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix. This evening’s ceremony will highlight the contributions and achievements of the nine (9) persons who will receive Royal Decorations and as such join the Order of Oranje Nassau name after the House of Oranje. What better time to do so than during this evening’s event organized each year to Celebrate Queen’s Birthday, a celebration which is held throughout the Kingdom of the Netherlands underscoring Her Majesty’s status as the symbol and personification of unity within the Kingdom.
Of the nine (9) persons who have been awarded a Royal Decoration, three (3) Mrs. Drs. Angela Dekker, Ms. Mary Eileen Healy, and Mr. Clarence Dalyrimple Richardsonwere decoratedas Knight in the Order of Oranje Nassau and six (6) Mr. Gabriel Felix Brown, Mrs. Nadia Irenia Brown-Satornilia, Mr Franklyn Gustavus Carty, Ms. Monique Muriel Gumbs, Mrs. Judith Mary Halley-Williams, and Mrs. Elvira Felecita Lewis were decorated as member in the Order of Oranje Nassau.
The nine (9)persons nominated have distinguished themselves in a variety of fields, namely:
Within the variety of fields in which they standout they all have dedicated a significant part of their life and talents towards the improvement and development of the lives of others and our community. Such sustained commitment is commendable and serves as an example for all of us.
In a few minutes the nine (9) nominated persons will receive a Royal Decoration for their exemplary service to our community. It is an honor and special distinction to be awarded a Royal Decoration and I thus hereby, take this opportunity - to in advance - convey my congratulations to each of the honorees individually and to their family and friends.
Moreover in closing, I wish to express special words of appreciation to my staff for their tireless work to make this evening possible. And speaking about commitment I herewith extend a very special thanks to Ms. Clara Reyes and Ms. Nicole De Weever, and all those who will be performing under their direction, for their extraordinary efforts in putting the artistic part of this evening together in poetry, song and dance in Tribute to Her Majesty Queen Beatrix.
Thus as we Honor Queen Beatrix with this last Queen’s Birthday Celebration, at least for some time to come, I extend a warm welcome to you and I wish you an enjoyable evening.
Thank you and God bless Sint Maarten
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