the Governor's Speeches

Back to Speeches Indexoct 31, 2016

Oath Of Office Ceremony for Parliamentarians Address by The Governor of Sint Maarten, His Excellency drs. Eugene B. Holiday

Chairlady of Parliament,
Préfète of Saint Martin and St Barths,
Prime Minister,
President of the Collectivité of Saint Martin,
Vice President of the Joint Court of Justice,
Members of Parliament elect,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning and a pleasant welcome to all present as well as to those of you tuning in via the airwaves.

On September 26, 2016, “We the people of Sint Maarten” in keeping with our declaration in the preamble of our constitution, that “we are a people that believes in the principle of democracy …….”, went to the polls and peacefully casted our votes. In doing so, in our peaceful Sint Maarten tradition, we set the tone for and entrusted the fifteen (15) elected members of parliament with the responsibility to secure stable democratic governance for the upcoming third parliamentary term.

It is therefore, in keeping with the expressed will of our people, my pleasure to extend a special welcome to the fifteen (15) elected parliamentarians seated alphabetically on my left and on my right for whom this ceremony has been organized. Congratulations to the people and to each of you with your election to Parliament.

Member of Parliament elect,
You will in a few minutes take the oath required for holding the office as a Member of Parliament. But before doing so, I shall share some thoughts with you for your consideration during the fulfillment of your responsibilities as members of parliament.

As regulated in our constitution, our parliamentary system of government provides for a separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, all of whom are represented here this morning. Over the past six years the role and responsibility of the legislature or parliament, in the governance of our country has been the subject of debate and question. This because your actions, individually and collectively, are critical to the stable governance and building of our nation. That is evident from the following summary of your responsibilities as outlined in our Constitution:
1. First, it is your responsibility to lend your support and confidence to form a government required to manage the affairs of our people;
2. Second, it is your responsibility to hold that same government accountable for their decisions and actions to foster the interest of our people; and
3. Third, it is your responsibility to initiate and/or approve the laws which are used in the administration of justice and governance of the affairs of our people.

In short, the people elected you to provide the support needed to form a government, to keep a check on that government and to put laws in place, all in the interest of the people. You are as such, individually and collectively, entrusted to be on the frontline of Sint Maarten’s Parliamentary democracy championing good governance. That is you are entrusted with the task to promote stable governance, aimed at the continued strengthening of regulations and public policies in areas such as, public finance, education, employment, social security, health care, environment, waste management, housing and safety; all to improve the wellbeing of our people.

It is, as such, clear that the trust placed in you, individually and collectively, comes with expectations, high expectations. In recognition thereof article 56 of our constitution requires members of Parliament to, in return, take a solemn oath or make a solemn promise prior to accepting their function as representatives of the people of Sint Maarten. Taking an oath or making a pledge as a representative of the people is therefore a serious legal, but also personal and public matter.

Members of Parliament elect,
It is against that background that we are gathered at this location to administer the oath of office for you to serve in the third term of Parliament. As such I will like to call your attention to the four aspects as stipulated in the oath, which you are about to take.

Accepting the function of parliamentarian through the taking of the oath is:
• First, your solemn expression of your commitment to perform your function independently and with integrity, that is that you have not accepted anything from or given anything to anyone in connection with your election as a Member of Parliament;
• Second, taking the oath is your pledge of allegiance to the King and the Kingdom Charter;
• Third, taking the oath is your sincere pledge or promise to always help to uphold the Constitution of Sint Maarten; and
• And finally, by taking the oath you unconditionally swear to always dedicate yourself to foster the wellbeing of the people of Sint Maarten.

In taking this solemn oath of office this morning you agree to accept and commit to carry out the serious responsibilities entrusted to you by the people and for the people. And that you will do so with integrity anchored on our constitutional principles.

Thus, as you take up your office, I trust that you will use the oath as a guide in the performance of your function on the frontline of our democracy, to promote stable and effective governance for our nation.

With that trust, I hereby wish you strength and wisdom in the fulfillment of you responsibilities along with God’s blessings for and protection of you and our beloved Sint Maarten.

It is with these best wishes for you and our Country that I hereby invite you to take your oath.