De Gouverneur Toespraken

Terug naar Toesprakenjun 01, 2017

FOSTERING REGIONAL TIES Remarks delivered in Trinidad by His Excellency drs. Eugene B. Holiday Governor of Sint Maarten AT THE RECEPTION Hosted by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of The Netherlands in Trinidad and Tobago H.E. Jules Bijl

Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Evening

My wife, Marie-Louise and I are pleased and honored to be with you her in Trinidad. 
Let me thank all of you for coming out and joining us for this reception of friendship between our countries Trinidad and Tobago and Sint Maarten. I want to thank Ambassador Jules Bijl for organizing this reception and for the great efforts he and his staff has made to facilitate my official visit to Trinidad. In this regard I also wish to convey my thanks to the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago for the hospitality and warm reception of my delegation and I.

As I said I am here on an official visit. The purpose of which is to promote the partnership between Sint Maarten and Trinidad and Tobago. My visit forms part of the Government of Sint Maarten’s goal to increase its participation and involvement in our region. It goes without saying that the friendship, ties and partnership between Sint Maarten and the region is an issue that is very close to my heart. Because I believe that through partnership and cooperation we stand a better chance, to address our collective challenges and hence improve and secure the wellbeing of our people.

While I cannot imagine that you are not familiar with my Country Sint Maarten I shall provide you with a brief and by no means complete introduction to it:
a) Sint Maarten shares part of an island with our French speaking neighbor country, our brothers of the French Collectivité Saint Martin;
b) Covering 34 square kilometers of the island’s total area of 87 square kilometers, Sint Maarten is located some 840 kilometers north of the Trinidad and Tobago or about 1 hour and 30 minutes by air;
c) Known as the friendly island, we have a population of about 60 thousand that speaks English as the primary language and generates a per capita income of some 26,000 USD;
d) Our economy is based primarily on tourism and in that regard Sint Maarten is a leading tourist destination catering to over 2 million stay-over and cruise tourists a year, who come to enjoy the natural beauty of the island, the local culture, the excellent cuisine, the extensive night life and the duty free shopping;
e) Constitutionally my country is one of the four countries that make up the quadripartite Kingdom of the Netherlands; and
f) Our government is a parliamentary democracy, with three branches of government, the Legislature, the Executive, and the Judiciary as stipulated in our constitution. 

Since becoming a country within the Kingdom in 2010, Sint Maarten as part of its strategy to achieve the socio-economic goals of our people has found it important to strengthen ties with our Caribbean neighbors and to participate in regional organizations. We have as a result joined the Association of Caribbean States as an associate member in 2014 and have applied for associate membership of CARICOM in June of 2014. This in light of our common historical, cultural and geographic characteristics and shared challenges.

In the case of our two countries, Trinidad and Tobago and Sint Maarten, ties have been initiated foremost through person to person and business to business contacts. We see this in our cultural and business manifestations and exchanges.

The steelpan, a Trinidadian invention is a fixture in Sint Maarten’s musical culture and celebrations. People from Sint Maarten look forward each year to join in and celebrate carnival in Trinidad and people from Trinidad join in to enjoy our carnival annually. And oh how we as Caribbean people, present company included, relish the socio-political commentary and rhythm of our calypsonians.
Sint Maarten is home to many Caribbean nationals with some 500 persons of Trinidad and Tobago living and working in Sint Maarten.
Our ties have not been limited to cultural ties as our businesses have engaged in numerous major transactions over the years. Trinidad’s National Petroleum Company has supplied our electricity company with oil for many years. While the Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago arranged and financed our new airport terminal and facilities in 2006. And likewise we benefit from the Trinidad tourist that frequent our island.

These ties, ladies and gentlemen, are building blocks for formal partnerships based on shared values and ideas that benefit our people and communities. Strengthening ties and cooperation in other words can contribute to the building and maintaining of strong communities in which our citizens can live safe, free and in prosperity. In an increasingly globalized world strong ties between countries through organizations such as CARICOM, anchored by educational programs, exchange of expertise, security initiatives and trade are critical to foster the interests and aspirations of our citizens.

Ladies and gentlemen,
In that context I believe that it is our joint and individual obligation to move forward as agents for partnerships between our countries, communicating and stimulating stronger ties through mutually beneficial cooperation. 
And as I leave you with that message, it is my hope that our countries will continue to build on the long-standing friendly relations that exists between Trinidad and Tobago, Sint Maarten and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Thank you.
And God Bless our Countries