Securing Unity Through Mutual Understanding, Acceptance and Respect, Sint Maarten Day Message by Eugene B. Holiday The Governor of Sint Maarten

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Fellow Sint Maarteners,

“Where over the world, say where, You find and island there, So lovely small with nations free, …. As thee Saint Martin in the sea? …… Oh I love thy paradise”

Happy Sint Maarten Day. In keeping with the day’s theme I have titled my message: Securing unity, through mutual understanding, acceptance and respect.

Sint Maarten’s Day is a special day for me ….. and that is not because it is a holiday like I am. Sint Maarten day is special because it is the primary symbol of our individual story, of our family story and of our common story as a Sint Maarten/Saint Martin people. It is the symbol of our united bond as a people. I therefore invite you to consider your story, your bond with our sweet Sint Maarten land.

I stand before you as the offspring of people from Dutch Cul-de-Sac and the French side Hope Estate going back some 7 generations. I therefore consider it a privilege and a special honor to speak to you on this our national holiday. It is special because it is a celebration of our common journey, our common achievements and our common destiny as a people. Like many Sint Maarteners I am, in part, the product of the shared story and journey of the people of Sint Maarten/Saint Martin. And today our story, our journey continues without guarantees. Sint Maarten Day therefore reminds us that we, like a good family, must remain united to be strong in good and hard times if we are to continue our journey towards more success for more of us. To do that Sint Maarten Day reminds us that we must, in the tradition of our forefathers, accept and respect each other with all our differences and similarities and join forces within as well as across our north/south border.  

My Fellow Sint Maarteners,

The urgency to join forces and unify our resources with mutual respect is great and increasing. We live in challenging times. Times of troubling national debate regarding important developments across our island. Serious debates:

  1. about strengthening our social fabric by combating unemployment, crime and poverty;
  2. about safeguarding our national patrimony such as the use of lands and protection of our natural heritage;
  3. about sustainable finances in the face of budget imbalances; and
  4. about political tensions and instability,

to name a few.

Whatever side of the debate you are on regarding these issues, it is evident that how we resolve these matters, will directly or indirectly affect the lives of our people. And making the lives of our people better is and should be what matters first and foremost. That and only that should be our common focus and cause.

At times like these it is important that we pause as a people and unite in our common cause: That is to always improve the lives of the people of Sint Maarten/Saint Martin. What better day to do so than on Sint Maarten day, our premier national holiday?

My fellow Sint Maarteners,

As a child I remember Sint Maarten Day as a special day when we came together to test our sporting skills, when we came together to participate in traditional family games, when we came together to demonstrate our best as one people. Today when we come together to celebrate Sint Maarten Day we, in keeping with that practice, must come together

  1. to celebrate how far we have come;
  2. to project where we want to be; and
  3. to assess what we need to do to improve the lives of and secure a better future for our people.

My fellow Sint Maarteners,

As your brother I invite all of you to join me and unite in projecting our dreams, our aspirations and our potential to improve our lives.

And as I speak, I know that there are some who doubt our capacity to unite and to overcome our challenges. But I have no doubt that we can and I know that we will. We need only to first re-commit and act according to the principles on which Sint Maarten Day is build. Namely unity through seeking to understand each other, through accepting each other and through respect for each other. These are the principles that have made us the friendly island and the people we are. A people that work and cooperate within and across our north/south border in the spirit of the Treaty of Concordia. Understanding, accepting and respecting each other will secure our unity, strengthen our capacity and make our island a better society for our people to live in. That is because when we seek to and understand each other, we are more likely to accept, respect, love, work and cooperate with each other. And that in turn will positively affect the way we treat each other at school, in the work place, on social media, in our neighborhoods, in business and in government. By doing so I am convinced that we will secure a stronger, more safe, fair, healthy, friendly and happy Sint Maarten.

That, my fellow Sint Maarteners, is our individual and shared responsibility to Sint Maarten/Saint Martin, our home.

My fellow Sint Maarteners,

I trust that all of us will heed this call to secure a unified and stronger Sint Maarten. A Sint Maarten that stands united and prepared to address the challenges we face. And in doing so realize the vision of Sint Maarten Day: to grow in unity, culturally, socially and economically.

It is in that spirit that I trust that you are enjoying our national holiday with family and friends enjoying the achievements, living by the principles and envisioning how to tap into the potential of our sweet Sint Maarten land.

My fellow Sint Maarteners,

It is with this prospect towards a brighter future that I hereby, on behalf of my wife Marie-Louise and myself, wish you a united, happy and safe Sint Maarten Day.

Thank you!

God bless you!

And may God bless our beloved island and protect its coast!

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