the Governor's Speeches

Back to Speeches Indexnov 11, 2010

Our Heritage Inspiring the Future Through Education

Delivered by His Excellency Eugene B. Holiday at Sint Maarten Day 2010 at Marigot (FWI) 

Bonjour / Good Afternoon

It is my pleasure and honor to address the People of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten on our shared Day November 11.
Saint Martin/Sint Maarten Day has always been special for me. Special because it is a day when we the people of Saint Martin/St. Maarten traditionally, take time out to celebrate the things that unite us; to celebrate our shared heritage as inspiration for our common future. As symbols of our unity, we share common families, we share the same Song so beautifully rendered earlier today, we share common traditions, and above all we share one 37 square miles island.

With Saint Martin obtaining the status of Collectivité since July 15, 2007, and Sint Maarten the status of Country within the Dutch Kingdom since October 10, 2010; today November 11, 2010, is extra special, because it marks a moment in our history when the opportunities to forge stronger cooperation between both sides of our island and create more symbols of unity, is greater than ever before. I therefore, as we observe this November 11, 2010, call on everyone on our shared island to seize the opportunities before us to achieve a better future for our People.

Realization of a better future for our people call for us to take up our individual and common responsibilities and respond to the challenges we face. Challenges in areas such as:

• the control of our borders;
• the safety and security of our people; and
• the prevailing socio economic imbalances on our island.

Each side can do that alone or we can choose to do it together. A survey of our history, of the history of our people learns that the people of our island have always worked together. That is the heritage, that is the tradition of Saint Martin/St. Maarten. Inspired by our heritage of sharing and working together as embodied in our shared symbols, it is my conviction that closer cooperation is a necessary condition to address the challenges facing both sides of our island.

As governor of the Dutch side of our island I assure you that I shall, in the spirit of the treaty of Concordia of 1648, work with the authorities of the French side to foster closer ties with our brothers on the Northern side of our island.

In that context I wish to emphasize the importance of creating a cooperation platform and of gaining greater understanding of our respective systems of government. The platform should be broad, well structured and institutionalized starting with the education of our youth. With respect to educating our youth, I recommend that we institutionalize exchange programs between our schools. Every child completing high school should have been lectured on the political system of the other side of the island. This is critical because, whether we master our future will depend on our preparation, and in particular on the preparation of our youth.  After all, while past and present generations have formed our heritage, it is our obligation to prepare and inspire our youth to build on our traditions and shape our future.

It is my conviction that by carrying our responsibilities and in particular that for the education of our children, that a bright and positive future lies ahead. One in which we can continue to protect our heritage, deepen our traditions, improve our wellbeing and build the symbols of unity which we celebrate on our shared day, November 11.

It is with this bright prospect that I hereby, on behalf of my wife Marie-Louise and I, wish the people of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten a happy and safe Day and May God bless you.