the Governor's Speeches

Back to Speeches Indexoct 10, 2010

Acceptance Speech for the Function of Governor of St. Maarten

Delivered by His Excellency Eugene Holiday when accepting his function as Governor

Madam Chairlady, Mw. De Voorzitster,
Members of Parliament, Statenleden
His Execelency, Minister of Justice of the Netherlands
Prefet of the Collectivite de St. Martin
President of the Collective de St. Martin
Visiting Dignatories
People of St. Maarten

Today October 10, 2010, is a defining moment in the history of St. Maarten. It is the Birthday of Sint Maarten as a Country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On this historic morning, I handed over, to this Parliament and thus to the People of Sint Maarten, the Kingdom Decree regulating my appointment and the Official Report of my Oath Taking and thus declared my acceptance of the function of Governor of Sint Maarten.

My fellow Sint Maarteners,

As your first Governor, I hereby congratulate you on this defining moment in our history, the birth of Country St. Maarten. On this extraordinary day in which the will of the people of Sint Maarten to become a Country within the Kingdom takes effect, I am honored, as first Governor of St. Maarten, to address the first Parliament of Sint Maarten and through the Parliament the first citizens of the new born Country Sint Maarten.
At this moment, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Her Majesty Queen Beatrix, for appointing me, to be her representative of the Kingdom Government on St. Maarten and to represent her as Head of State of St. Maarten.

Further, I will like to express my appreciation to the Government of Sint Maarten and to the Kingdom Council of Ministers for the confidence which they have placed in me.  Moreover, I will like to thank everyone for their well wishes on my appointment.
At this moment I wish to acknowledge that I am standing here:

• thanks to the immeasurable love, wisdom, strength and teachings of my mother, who cannot be here;
• because of the dedication to our family of my imposing father, who is no longer with us;
• because of the inspiration and examples of my siblings; and
• thanks to the steadfast support of my best friend and confidant for the last 25 years, my loving wife, Marie-Louise Holiday.

After all is said and done I know that I am standing by the grace of the Almighty God.

My fellow Sint Maarteners,

As a son of the soil I am truly proud to share in this moment when Sint Maarten assumes the status of Country within the Kingdom and to be bestowed the honor and privilege of being your Governor. It is in that capacity that I received, with great appreciation for our Head of State Her Majesty Queen Beatrix, her congratulations for the birth of Country Sint Maarten and best wishes to you for the future. I am therefore honored to convey the message of Her Majesty, Queen Beatrix to the people of Sint Maarten which reads, and I quote:

“Aan de inwoners van Sint Maarten Vandaag gaat ons Koninkrijk door de staatkundige vernieuwing een nieuwe fase in. Gaarne betuig ik op deze bijzondere dag mijn diep gevoelde verbondenheid met U, inwoners van het land Sint Maarten, en wens ik U allen geluk en voorspoed toe.


End quote.

My fellow St. Maarteners,

Today we stand at the portal of our new Country Sint Maarten. From personal experience I can inform you that the road to this moment was not smooth. But we made it. With the knowledge I acquired during that journey I can equally inform you that the challenges ahead are immense. The tasks ahead of us are great. We will have to build critical institutions for the functioning of our parliamentary democracy, institutions like this Parliament, the Council of Advice, the General Audit Chamber, the Ombudsman and others from the ground up. We will have to improve our financial management and strengthened our judicial organizations. These institutions and their proper functioning are intended to maintain and safeguard the basic rights of the people of Sint Maarten as embedded in our Constitution. Building these institution will not be easy, and particularly, because, we are to start doing so, in the midst of an unfavorable global financial economic environment.
In that regard, there rest on us a great responsibility; a responsibility to build and nurture a stronger Sint Maarten for future generations. With that great responsibility we also have a great opportunity. Effective today, we like no generation before us have the opportunity and constitutional authority, to shape the socio-economic, cultural and environmental construct of our beloved island. How we address this challenge and approach this opportunity, will determine our success in the discharge of our responsibilities?

Today’s parliamentary session provides us with some pointers as to how to move forward. My acceptance of the function of Governor has taken place before the highest elected representatives by the people of Sint Maarten. That moment holds in it, constitutional and symbolic significance. Constitutionally it provides the setting for the establishment of the Governor as the Constitutional Head of State of St. Maarten; and as such the founding of a new Sint Maarten institution. Symbolically it signifies the shared responsibility of you as representatives of the people and me as Governor to serve our people to the best of our ability. While constitutionally and in terms of responsibility, clearly separate from each other, both you and I are to execute our tasks in the service of the general interest. In that regard I wish to emphasize that I see no difference between the members of Parliament supporting the government and the members of Parliament in opposition. Both sides of the isle, as is expected in a democracy, have different views of the way in which our country is best served. Be that as it is, we at least agree on one thing: that is that the interest of our country is larger than anyone of us and that it is a shared responsibility. In that sense I will like to work closely with the Parliament and each of you individually as well as serve all of you in my role of Governor, as representative of the Kingdom Government and as your Head of State.

My fellow Sint Maarteners,

It is my conviction that a bright and positive future lies ahead if we can develop a people centered vision for Sint Maarten. A vision based on one central objective anchored in the motto on our flag: “semper progrediens” to realize the most optimal wellbeing for all inhabitants of Sint Maarten. This vision calls for each of us individually to serve in the interest of Sint Maarten, it calls for equal opportunity for all to participate in all that Sint Maarten has to offer, it calls for us to focus on the all important education and development of our people, it calls for us to unite in the common cause: Sint Maarten. By doing so I am convinced that that we will deliver a securer, safer, fairer, healthier, friendlier and happier society.

My Fellow Sint Maarteners,

It is my hope that we will all rally around this vision and take up the call to serve our and future generations of Sint Maarteners. In that context I believe that the words spoken by Queen Juliana at the signing of the Kingdom Charter on December 15, 1954 remains applicable today, I quote:

“Steunend op eigen kracht, doch met de wil elkander bij te staan”.
End quote.

On an individual level these words and the vision outlined, calls for each to serve on his own strenght while being willing to support each other if necessary. On a Country level this vision calls on the peoples of the countries of the Kingdom to unite in the service to their respective countries but to be willing to support the peoples of the other countries within the Kingdom.

Het doet mij daarom een groot genoegen om de vertegenwoordiger(s) van de regering(en) van Nederland (en Aruba) vandaag in onze midden te mogen begroeten op deze bezondere dag.  It is in this same spirit that I wish to convey to the people of Sint Maarten, the best wishes sent to you from His Exellency, The Governor of Curacao, Mr. Goedgedrag.

Moreover, I wish to emphasize that when I said, that the words of Queen Juliana remain valid to today, I also mean that these words must be viewed in the regional and geographic realities of our island Sint Maarten. This is particularly the case for our cooperation with our brothers and sisters of St. Martin, with whom we share this one island. Let me therefore say:

“Nous sommes très heureux, et fière d’avoir entre nous les représentants des résidents de St. Martin, à ce moment privilégié et historique de Sint Maarten. I am pleased to acknowledge the presence of the representatives of the people of St. Martin at this defining moment in the history of Sint Maarten.

In other words through concerted effort and cooperation within and outside our new born Country we have the opportunity to build our country.    
In my role as Governor I hereby pledge that I shall employ my office to the fullest to serve the people of St. Maarten by upholding the constitutional state in this critical and all important period in the evolution and development of Sint Maarten. It is in that context that I have worked during the past few weeks with the candidate prime-minister, who has informed me on the formation of the government, who has presented the proposed ministers, and who has outlined the framework for the governing program. Based on this information I am pleased to inform you that within short I shall administer the appointments and swearing in of the members of the first Council of Ministers of St. Maarten;  another defining moment in the history of St. Maarten. It is my hope and trust as Governor that this Council of ministers will take up the call to serve all the people of Sint Maarten.

Madam Chairlady, Members of Parliament,
A not insignificant share of the decisions with regard to the future of our beloved island St. Maarten lies in your hands. I wish you wisdom and strength in the execution of this difficult and important task. You can count on my input and cooperation.  

Madam Chairlady, Members of Parliament, My fellow Sint Maarteners,
In the creative and enterprising spirit of the people of Sint Maarten and in the tradition of the Kingdom I am hopeful and confident that together we will, will the help of the almighty God take Sint Maarten forward building a strong, stable, responsible and just society.

Through these words, I accept, with profound gratitude and great humility, my appointment as Governor of St. Maarten to serve the people of Sint Maarten in this honorable function.

Thank you and May God Bless You