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Oath of Office Ceremony for Parliamentarians

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

February 10, 2020
Falcon drive 3, Philipsburg, Sint Maarten

Chairman of Parliament,
Prime Minister,
President of the Collectivite of Saint Martin,
Members of Parliament elect,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning. 

And welcome to this oath of office ceremony.

In particular, I herewith 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 each of you with your election to Parliament and to the people of Sint Maarten who you will be representing.

Members of Parliament elect,
On January 9, 2020 we the people of Sint Maarten, went to the polls and exercised our fundamental constitutional right to vote. You – individually and collectively - have as a result, been entrusted with the mandate to represent the people of Sint Maarten for the next four years.

The trust placed in you, individually and collectively, comes with high expectations. It is a trust placed in you for you to articulate the people’s concerns, champion the people’s causes and pursue the people’s interests with sincerity. In recognition thereof article 56 of our constitution requires members of Parliament to 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 promise as a representative of the people is therefore a serious legal, but also personal and public matter.

Members of Parliament elect,
You will as a result in a few minutes take the oath or make the promise required for holding the office as a representative of the people of Sint Maarten. But before administering the oath I will share some thoughts and words of advice with you.

This year we will be commemorating the tenth (10th) anniversary of Sint Maarten’s Country status. Our country’s 10th anniversary is also an excellent moment to plan and set our country’s socio-economic agenda for the next 10 years and beyond. Standing at this 10-year mark in our country’s history, I therefore invite and advise you to reflect on the role of parliament in the past ten years and to draw lessons for the future development of our country. To draw lessons, for as the saying goes: “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it”.
? Lessons about the importance of the role parliament plays or can play in:
a) securing political stability;
b) promoting good and accountable governance; and
c) adopting legislation necessary for the effective governing of our country.
? Lessons which I trust will guide you in the fulfillment of your mandate to protect and improve the wellbeing of the people of Sint Maarten above all else.

During your tenure, as you seek to fulfill your mandate to protect and improve the wellbeing of the people of Sint Maarten, you will face major and consequential choices and decisions. The choices you make will have far reaching consequences for the lives of our people, of our children, our grandchildren and of all of us. Choices which will affect the preparation of our people for the challenges of climate change, technological advancements, ageing and globalization. Your decisions on how to meet these challenges will, among others, affect our economic recovery, our children’s education, our jobs, our health care system, our pension system, our environment, our housing, our payment system and our public finances. One such choice currently before parliament is the handling of the penal procedural code as part of our international commitment to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism. In keeping with your mandate, I advise or rather urge you, individually and collectively, to stand up for Sint Maarten and approve the penal procedure code as your first order of business. Only you, only you can do this. This is urgent and necessary to reduce the risk of being blacklisted by the FATF. Failure to act without further delay is not acceptable.

Members of Parliament elect,
You are, in short, mandated and called upon to stand up for the people of Sint Maarten, to articulate the people’s concerns, to champion the people’s causes and to pursue the people’s interests with sincerity. The oath you are about to take is a reflection and reminder of the seriousness thereof.

In closing I therefore 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 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 to promote stable and effective governance towards the protection and improvement of the wellbeing of our people.

With that trust, I hereby wish you strength and wisdom in the fulfillment of your 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.