On September 30th, a shift in the majority in Parliament took place creating the basis for the transfer of governing responsibility to a new team of Ministers. During the seven week transition period which concluded today I consulted with various persons and named Mr. William Marlin as formateur to form a new government. You have, as a result, just witnessed the transfer of executive responsibility for the governance of our country from one team of Ministers to a new team of Ministers. The path to this transfer was not without challenges. To all who gave their input to the transition and formation process I hereby, also on behalf of the people of Sint Maarten, express my gratitude. And in particular I wish to thank Mr. William Marlin for his work and cooperation as formateur.
As I said the path to this transfer was not without challenges. Today’s transfer follows a period of polarized, complex and tense political actions and constitutional debates. During the past seven weeks a lot has been said and written about our constitution. And regardless of which side of the debate one took, it was evident that our people look to our constitutional principles as the foundation for the handling of their affairs. Looking ahead it is therefore important that we are reminded of the principles outlined in the preamble of our constitution, which slightly reworded, states:
We, The people of Sint Maarten, are determined to work with each other; We believe in the principle of democracy, We believe in the rule of law; We believe in the entitlement of all individuals to the fundamental rights and freedoms; We wish to create a constitutional order based on an open and approachable government; And We therefore to record our objectives and convictions agree that the provisions of the constitution shall have the force of law.
Ladies and gentlemen, these are our constitutional principles. It is as a result our collective obligation to adhere to these principles and work together to improve the lives of our people. Anything else will go against the interest of the people of Sint Maarten. And that is unacceptable.
Prime Minister, Ministers,
Today, seven weeks after the shift in the parliamentary majority and three weeks since the previous team of Ministers made their positions available you come before the people of Sint Maarten as a new team of ministers. A new team faced with the tasks of addressing the 2015 budgetary problems, of preparing the planned elections and of taking steps to introduce electoral reforms.
As you assume your mandate to govern this beautiful country, I trust that you, in keeping with your oath, will work to fortify our constitutional principles aimed at improving the wellbeing of our people.
Accepting the position of Minister through the taking of the oath today, is a solemn expression of your commitment to perform your duties with integrity. It is your pledge of allegiance to the King and the Kingdom Charter, it is your individual declaration to always uphold the Constitution of Sint Maarten and it is your solemn affirmation to always dedicate yourself to foster the wellbeing of the People of Sint Maarten. Through your oath, you have accepted the obligation to serve all the people of Sint Maarten. The fulfillment of this obligation must be based on the principles of democracy, on the rule of law, on respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons and anchored in our determination as a people to work together.
In that regard, there rests on you, individually as Ministers, and jointly as Council of Ministers a great responsibility. Your decisions will have lasting influences on the lives of the people of Sint Maarten. Thus, as you deliberate on taking action on the matters before you during your governing period, I wish you wisdom, individually and jointly, in the conduct of your responsibilities as you seek to meet your constitutional responsibility to the people of Sint Maarten.
With that in mind, I hereby congratulate the people of Sint Maarten with the installation of this new government and similarly congratulate each of you and your families with your appointments as Prime-Minister, Ministers and Minister Plenipotentiary.
Thank you, God bless you and May God Bless Sint Maarten and protect its coast.