in this Section
the Governor's Speeches
Commemorative Medal Award Ceremony
Address delivered by H.E. Governor drs. Eugene B. Holiday
at the “Commemorative Medal Award Ceremony” in appreciation of contributions of persons to activities related to the Inauguration of King Willem Alexander and The Inaugural Visit of The Royal Couple to Sint Maarten
The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, June 23, 2014
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon and welcome to this Commemorative Medal Award Ceremony.
I am pleased to address you this afternoon on this special occasion and to have the opportunity to convey the appreciation to some 91 persons by way of a special award on behalf of his Majesty King Willem Alexander. But before doing so allow me to highlight the developments that brought us here.
On January 28, 2013, Her Majesty Queen Beatrix announced that she had decided to abdicate the throne in favor of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and it was established that the new King would be inaugurated on April 30, 2013.
As a result the Dutch Government decided to install the “Nationaal Comité Inhuldiging” to coordinate certain festivities surrounding the inauguration throughout the Kingdom of the Netherlands. As a result, I consulted with the Prime-Minister, resulting in the decision of the Government of Sint Maarten to install the Organizing Committee for the Inauguration (OCI). The OCI was charged with the task to coordinate all activities on Sint Maarten related to the inauguration of the New King as well as to synchronize activities with the “Nationaal Comité Inhuldiging”. As I prepared for this ceremony my mind went back to my meetings and discussions with the OCI members about the challenges they encountered having to organize the activities during carnival and the challenges they faced given the limited time and budget. These challenges were overcome thanks to the dedication of the members of OCI and the efforts of the many volunteers that supported them. As a result you ensured that the celebration of the inauguration of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander took place in fine style here on Sint Maarten. In that regard I can refer to the success:
• of the Orange Bow activities;
• of the Kings Games with the breakfast, cycling, and football; and
• of the inauguration festivities on Sint Maarten on April 30, 2013.
The dust on the inauguration had barely settled when I learned that the H.M. King Willem-Alexander and H.M. Queen Maxima had decided to visit the Caribbean part of the Kingdom as part of their acquaintance tour throughout the Kingdom. And as Sint Maarten we had the honor of being the first stop on the Royal Couple’s inaugural visit to the Caribbean. I therefore consulted with the Prime-Minister to have the National Organizing Committee (NOC) appointed and charged with the organization of the inaugural visit of the King and Queen to Sint Maarten.
Like the activities OCI for the inauguration, the activities organized by the NOC were supported by many persons and organizations for the inaugural visit of the King and Queen on November 13 and 14 resulting in a resounding success of the Royal Couple’s Visit. In this regard, I can mention:
• first, the tour of the Royal Couple amidst an enthusiastic public with stops at Milton Peters College and the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex, followed by the ‘monuments walk’ through Front Street, with visits to the Oranje school, the Methodist Church properties and the Court House;
• second, the spectacular youth manifestation of song and dance in the festival village that same night.
• And finally, the official dinner at the captain Hodge Warf.
Amongst the many moving moments and highlights during the inaugural visit 2013, the crowning moment of the visit came with the words of the King following the outstanding performances by our St. Maarten youngsters at the Festival Village, and I quote: “our first day of this tour in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom could not have started better”.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The words of the King spoken on the evening of November 13, 2013 says it all. And to show his appreciation to the persons on Sint Maarten who actively contributed to the activities related to His inauguration ceremony on April 30, 2013 and to their inaugural visit on November 12-16, 2013, it was decided by Royal Decree to award them a commemorative Medal. A Commemorative Medal which represents a special distinction, which recipients may wear.
Today we are here to grant this special distinction to the 91 persons – from the OCI, the NOC, the police, the military, voluntary corps, the ambulance staff, choir members, brass band members, protocol staff, security services staff etc., etc., who have been selected.
In closing, I hereby on behalf of King Willem-Alexander thank each of you for your contributions in relation to the celebration of the King’s inauguration and the Royal Couple’s inaugural visit to Sint Maarten.
And in a few minutes, as a tangible expression of the King’s appreciation of your efforts each of you will in recognition your contributions be called forward to receive a Commemorative Medal and I thus hereby, in closing, congratulate each of you with your special distinction.