the Governor's Speeches

Back to Speeches Indexjan 06, 2012

Moving Sint Maarten To A Higher National Plane As A Center Of Excellence

Delivered by His Excellency Eugene B. Holiday
at the Governor's New Year's reception at DiviLittle Bay

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening and welcome; It is wonderful to have you here this evening to celebrate the start of 2012 with you.
At the beginning of this NEW YEAR 2012, Marie-Louise and I, are pleased to extend warm greetings and best wishes to you and the people of Sint Maarten. This evening’s reception calls for you to enjoy the setting, dishes, drinks and music especially prepared for you. It brings a cross section of our community together in the unifying act of sharing in a light diner. I shall therefore not keep you too long, as I take this moment to make two remarks, a general and a specific one.

My specific remark regards the grand Royal Visit to Sint Maarten in November of 2011 in which large numbers of people turned out and greeted the Royal Family. I am particularly pleased to convey the appreciation of Her Majesty to the people of Sint Maarten for the wonderful and warm reception which Her Majesty and the Royal Highnesses received during their first visit to Sint Maarten as a country in November of 2011. Thanks to the dedication and work of all who were involved in organizing the visit we can look back at a successful and unforgettable Royal visit. I have therefore decided to store the memories of this special visit in a pictorial documentary and to present a copy of it to all of you at the end of the evening. It is presented to you as a special keepsake proudly displaying the potential of the people of Sint Maarten as we hosted the Royal Family.

Speaking about the potential of the people of St. Maarten brings me to the second and general part of my remarks and thoughts. Thoughts which I hope will be points of discussion and action for you in the year ahead. Thoughts which reflect the aspirations of and come from my conversations with  residents during the past year.

For the purpose of my message I have captured these aspirational discussions in the following question.
Now that we have accomplished country status, where do we go from here?

In my 2011 new year’s message I preempted that question with the statement and I quote: “Looking ahead, as we gather here this evening at the beginning of 2011, at the start of the first full calendar year as a country, ………I trust that we will strive for excellence in governance”., unquote. To qualify that statement I went on to state, I quote: “My call for excellence in governance is based on the universal rule: that the better the level of governance in a society, the higher the level of wellbeing of and the stronger the community”., unquote.
This evening a year later, looking back at 2011 and forward to 2012, I reiterate that call for excellence in governance. I do so this evening with my sight firmly set on Sint Maarten as a Center of Excellence in our region.

This is a mission which we can only achieve when we, as individuals, corporations, public organizations and government, rise above the narrow confines of our individual interests to the higher and broader concerns of our society. Broader societal concerns such as:

• improved education;
• more and better employment;
• less crime and drug abuse;
• a cleaner environment;
• cultural development; and
• uncompromising observance of the democratic principles of freedom, equality, solidarity, accountability, transparency and justice.

Fostering and achieving these broader societal objectives means a better life for all Sint Maarteners.

Thus as we address the question: Where do we go from here?; it is essential that we, as the generations before us have done, strive to move Sint Maarten to a higher national plane. To do so it is imperative that each of us  move beyond the sound of our voices to concrete actions. Let us embark on a search for and implementation of concrete national programs that will satisfy mentioned broader societal objectives. For the inspiration for a true leap forward to a higher national plane for Sint Maarten must come from within, from within the people – You and I –  that make up our nation.

It is critical therefore that we put our people first; this because people are the most critical factor for the quality of our governance and development. As we embark on this New Year let us renew our commitment to invest in and care for our human capital. Let us as we seek to move Sint Maarten to a higher national plane, to its place as a center of excellence, start by investing more in the academic, vocational and artistic development of our people.

In this context it is my hope and recommendation that more concerted action be taken in 2012 to develop concrete and significant national programs. Specifically I recommend national initiatives such as the institution of a Law Faculty at our institution of higher learning, the establishment of a Sint Maarten Philharmonic Orchestra as well as a Center for the Performing Arts. The realization of these programs calls for excellence in educational governance and in cultural governance. They are programs which have the potential to inspire our people. They offer new opportunities and as such motivate our people to strive to realize our full potential as a nation.

This ladies and gentlemen is critical because a motivated and inspired people is our best source of strength as we set our sails to navigate through the rough seas of the expected protracted unfavorable global financial and economic environment in 2012. That, however, will not be enough to weather the storms in 2012. It will in addition be imperative that we apply “best practices” in the governance of our economy through an innovative national economic program. An economic program – grounded in prudent fiscal, sound monetary, responsible business, balanced social, and sustainable environmental policies –  all  aimed at protecting our economic base from potential erosion and directed at laying a solid foundation as the global economy undergoes transformation. For it is only by making such governance investments that we can secure moving to a higher national plane of excellence for current and future generations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In closing, as the New Year 2012 begins, let us thank God for watching over our country. And at the same time let us individually and collectively commit to act to take Sint Maarten to a higher national plane as a center of excellence. This is your duty, my duty, our obligation. In my role as Governor I hereby, with a vision for a stronger Sint Maarten, reaffirm my pledge to continue to work with government and other stakeholders to serve the people of St. Maarten.

With that pledge, I hereby on behalf of Marie-Louise and myself, wish you and your family a year of health, happiness and growth.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless Sint Maarten.