the Governor's Speeches

Back to Speeches Indexmar 04, 2016


His Excellency drs. Eugene B. Holiday
Governor of Sint Maarten
Sheer Restaurant, Philipsburg, Sint Maarten

Friday, March 4, 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good evening,
And Welcome,

I am on behalf of Marie-Louise and myself pleased to welcome all of you to this reception organized in honor of the Consular corps of Sint Maarten with the theme: Partnership Through Friendship and Dialogue. To our consuls present here this evening I hereby in the spirit of friendship extend a very special welcome to you as our honored guests.
I have had the pleasure of meeting with most you as well as with some of your ambassadors. We have had some very interesting talks and I would like to thank you for that and for the friendship you help foster between Sint Maarten and the countries you represent. It is my intention through this annual reception to help maintain and build closer partnerships through friendship and dialogue between our people and governments.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The people of Sint Maarten has a long tradition of regional and international orientation. A tradition which in our interaction with others has earned us our nickname: The Friendly Island. For generations the people of Sint Maarten has interacted with other peoples through travel to foreign shores and by welcoming people to our shores. This regional and international orientation is an essential characteristic of our people. We have as a result built an open society founded on widely accepted shared principles of democracy, the rule of law, the dignity and value of the individual, and the entitlement of all individuals to enjoy fundamental rights and freedoms. These are cherished universal values which are essential to the continued success of our people driven tourist economy and thus to the prosperity of our people.
It is in our tradition and spirit of friendship that we host persons and businesses from the countries you represent as consuls and from elsewhere in the world. Sint Maarten is in that sense a friend and partner. And the Sint Maarten government will continue to do its best to be a reliable partner and friendly host to all persons living and businesses established in our country. And what better foundation to act on than through open channels of dialogue with you as the representatives of those countries.
Esteemed Consuls,
Through these words of welcome I wish to emphasize the importance and value our people and government place on nurturing friendship and dialogue between the countries you represent and Sint Maarten. We do so because as a small, open tourism based Caribbean nation, we recognize that international partnerships are essential for the growth and wellbeing of our people. Partnerships which are reflected in business relations, tourism flows and knowledge exchange which adds value to our respective citizens. Value that is reflected in the presence of US hotels and university, Canadian banks and high school,  Chinese Food Chains, Indian Merchants and tourists from all over the world as well as Sint Maarteners studying in the US and elsewhere to name a few.
We must therefore assess the true and mutually beneficial value of these activities which needs to be protected in an increasingly globalized world faced with security, economic and climate challenges. As consuls representing your countries and as business, labor and government representatives of Sint Maarten, it is therefore important that we work together to uphold universal values and protect the interest and foster the aspirations of our citizens. This by facilitating partnerships through the deepening of friendships and through dialogue in critical areas for our people.
That is because strong relations anchored in friendship and dialogue is the bedrock of effective partnerships and cooperation. I am as such pleased with your presence here this evening as members of the Sint Maarten Consular Corps.
Thus as we gather here this evening at this year’s Corps Consulaire reception, I wish to thank each of you for the valuable work you do for our residents, your citizens visiting or living here. Because their interaction with our people is the best foundation for mutual understanding, friendship and lasting partnerships.
In that respect I also wish to thank the director Ms. Khalila Peters and the staff of our directorate of foreign relations for the work they do. You are the first point of contact for our consuls in nurturing our friendships by sorting out issues when they develop. And in doing so you offer the building blocks for dialogue that support our partnerships. You are as such within the framework of the Kingdom of the Netherlands the cornerstone of St Maarten’s external relations.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In that context I believe that it is our joint obligation to continue to move forward as agents for partnerships between our countries, communicating and stimulating friendship and dialogue for mutually beneficial cooperation.
And in embracing our obligation I wish to leave you, as consuls, with the message that our countries need each other in our interdependent world. I therefore invite you to continue to work towards the strengthening of partnership by fostering stronger friendships and dialogue in the areas of education, health care, tourism, trade, banking and the combating of crime for the safety, security, health, development and prosperity of our peoples.
And as I leave you with that message, I look forward to constructive partnerships through friendship and dialogue with you.
Thank you,
God bless you and God bless Sint Maarten and protect its coast.