Introductory Address of Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell to Civil Servants on Constitution Day, October 10, 2011

PHILIPSBURG -  Madam Prime Minister, Fellow civil servants, Ladies and gentlemen.

Let me start by thanking all of you gathered here today (and those who have had to stay on the job to continue to render service to our people) for your hard work, dedication and commitment.

I'm sure this last year, in particular, has not been a walk in the park — or, as we would say, a j'ouvert morning jam around the Great Salt Pond - for any of us, with all the administrative and other changes our new constitutional status has brought.

But we're in this boat together, and together, we shall swim, for sinking is not an option.

I know of the criticism against civil servants – some of it, some would argue might be deserved, others certainly not – but no matter what the obstacles and frustrations might be, I want to stress the fact that we all belong to the same team. That team is called St. Martin. And as with all good teams, we must play together and have one another's back.

Team St. Martin is a winning team, whose members – each and every one of us – must have the mentality of a victor, not that of a victim. There is no "us" and "them" in this team, and the only "I" is the "i" in St. Martin.

The civil service is government; and civil servants are an integral part of government. Civil servants are the guarantors of continuity in government and the custodians of the key to good governance.

Today, we are celebrating the first anniversary of Constitution Day, and if you ask me, I think it is the duty of every civil servant to know the Constitution. I also believe that it is our duty to understand the real meaning of our name: civil servants, in other words, servants who serve with civility.

I hope we have been inspired to do even more to make Team St. Martin a victorious team, always.

Happy Constitution Day!

God bless you, and God bless our beloved St. Martin.

I thank you.

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