Prime Minister Wescot-Williams Highlights Contribution of Ancestors, Need to Remember St. Maarten Roots to Move St. Maarten Forward

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams held a moving address at the official opening of the St. Maarten's Day Activities in the Festival Village on Monday, St. Maarten's Day.

During her Address the PM highlighted the contribution the forefathers made to the developing of St. Maarten and stressed on the people of St. Maarten to leave a positive legacy for their country.

"Good afternoon dignitaries, guests, People of St. Maarten:

"We are celebrating St. Maarten Day because truly we are St. Maarten and we needed a day to celebrate it. We can collectively still remember when we truly spoke of one St. Maarten and of The St. Maartener. But those days were also so much more; they were the days of St. Maarten when we were proud to be St. Maarteners. Our forefathers came from many places; many areas in the Caribbean where they had to travel to work but we always remember this was our home, our land. And everyone else from this land was our brother and sister. We were proud, we were ambitious and we were industrious and honest. And our women were the true matriarchs of this land; those who had to leave these shores to provide for their families did so with determination. We owe a lot to countries in the region where our men and their entire families went in search of a better livelihood; Aruba, Curacao, the Dominican Republic and Cuba to mention just a few. But oh how we have repaid that favor multiple times over; just look around and you will see.

"It is not because we left, or returned but because of what you represent. Our men back then were tradesmen, fishermen, farmers and entrepreneurs and our women too and they cared for their children; theirs and everyone else's. While they had little they cooked for a small army and shared what little they had. They shared their melee, but it was a melee of bettering the community, not bringing it down.

"A long time ago the migration pattern of this region weaved together a community that produced a special species called the St. Maartener; pre-colonial, post-colonial, pre-tourist industry, tourist-industry, and today. We have allowed much of this uniqueness today yet we are still looking for the recapturing of our identity. I believe it is right here, a few chapters back in the book called St. Maarten back then, that our cultural, social and historical heritage was established.

This year we are also celebrating 365 years of a shared history, the Anniversary of the Treaty of Concordia. Our Nation is Nothing More and Nothing Less than a community that shares certain values, values of compassion, tolerance and community like the one our forefathers possessed. This spirit is slipping away on St. Maarten but in this island's darkest hour it is that same spirit of community that brings us through our darkest hour and that bounds us.

We often complain that others dominate with their culture but if they can so proudly display their heritage in another land what do you think if they and we display the culture of this, our land of St. Maarten. Should we not ask ourselves what legacy we are creating? This is a message about our present and the opportunities we have to emulate the things we did to make St. Maarten how it is. We need to go back in the day when caring was true and that we had a kinship back in the day. And I hope we can all proudly proclaim that we are St. Maarteners because we believe in this land, its future and its people. God Bless this Land, God Bless St. Maarten, its People and Happy St. Maarten's Day.

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