De Gouverneur Toespraken

Terug naar Toesprakendec 09, 2013

Hydrographic Activities; Its Significance For Caribbean Development

Opening AddressBy H.E. Governor Eugene B. Holiday
Delivered on the Occasion of the
Philipsburg, Sint MaartenDecember 9, 2013

Ladies and gentlemen,

A pleasant good morning  and welcome to, welkom op, bienvenue à and bienvenido a  Sint Maarten.

The waters of the Caribbean have long been a defining factor in the lives of our people. As the centuries rolled over people have navigated Caribbean waters into and out of our Caribbean shores. Today considering the significance of our Caribbean waters for the continued development of our region I am pleased to greet you here on our friendly island for the 14th conference of the Meso American and Caribbean Hydrographic  Sea Commission. It is thus a great privilege for me to not only welcome you as members, associate members, observers and stakeholders, but also to underscore the overall significance of your hydrographic work for Caribbean Development. Work based on a full dose of vitamin C when I consider the four Cs: Cooperation, Coordination, Communication and Conversation, mentioned by Mr. Ward, the president of the IHO .

In the next few minutes I shall through these opening remarks reemphasize our common interest, share my views on the importance of the inputs from your work for the governance of our blue economy and briefly touch on the added value of you activities for the effectiveness of disaster management.

Ladies and gentlemen,

From the perspective of our common interest I am encouraged to see representatives from a wide variety of nations from the Caribbean, the Americas and Europe gathered here for this meeting this week. Many of our Caribbean nations depend heavily on the efforts and products of hydrographic offices as well as on the close cooperation thereof with the industry and relevant stakeholders. The list of participating countries from the region, and with close links to the region, as well as industry is testimony that our people have  a common interest in the world of hydrography. An interest to measure and describe the physical features of our seas  for the  safety of navigation and in support of all marine activities, including among others economic development, security and defence, and environmental protection. It is thus in our collective interest to cooperate in hydrographic matters.

From an economic perspective, looking through your agenda I noticed that you will be talking extensively about the Blue Economy tomorrow; thus taking hydrography beyond its traditional scope. And in doing so tying into the theme of this year’s June 21st World Hydrography Day, namely: “Hydrography - underpinning the blue economy”. Here in Sint Maarten and in the wider Caribbean we are closely monitoring this trend. We, as Island communities, and many of the nations gathered here depend heavily on the safety of our waterways and harbors to accommodate cargo vessels as well as the  cruise ship industry. A trip into our capital Philipsburg during this week will show the importance of the cruise industry for Sint Maarten. With the cruise industry moving towards ever bigger ships, information about water depth is an increasingly important issue. Having properly surveyed approaches is thus becoming even more critical for this industry and therefore for our islands’ economies and development.

I am therefore encouraged to see that these economic issues are part of your deliberations because the blue economy is important to the economies of the Caribbean. I am as a result looking forward to your results, your policies and your future working programmes.
Additionally, it is from a disaster management perspective important to conduct regular surveys because of natural disasters - like hurricanes and volcanic eruptions - in part of the Caribbean and the  Meso American areas.

Your common hydrographic approach towards this kind of disaster relief operations is well recognised and has clearly demonstrated its added value for the quick recovery of the regions maritime infrastructure which is critical for economic development.
In short, in view of the development of our Meso American and Caribbean countries it is vital that those who have information collate and distribute it to whoever can use it, as you are doing at and through this meeting.

Considering the significance of hydrographic work for Caribbean development I am delighted that you chose Sint Maarten for your conference. Sint Maarten directly links you with the issues facing the smaller states in the eastern Caribbean.

I therefore advise you to not limit your stay to this hotel and its swimming pool but to prepare a hydrographic chart of our dual-nation island. And in doing so discover and enjoy our islands hospitality in our coastal capital Philipsburg in the south and cross the Dutch-French border and explore coastal Marigot the capital of the northern part of our Island.

In closing, I wish you Mr. Amafo as chairman of this meeting and all the delegates much wisdom, creativity and realism in finding solutions to the issues which are vital to the balanced and sustainable development of our countries and hereby declare this 14th Meso American and Caribbean Sea Hydrographic Commission Meeting officially open.         

Thank you.