the Governor's Speeches

Back to Speeches Indexjun 25, 2018

Seizing opportunities to rebuild a sustainable Sint Maarten

Remarks at the swearing in ceremony of the new Government by His Excellency drs. Eugene B. Holiday Governor of Sint Maarten

Chairperson of Parliament, Members of Parliament
Prime-Minister, Ministers,
Préfète déléguée of Saint Martin and St. Barths
President of the Collectivity of Saint Martin
Distinguished Guests, Good Morning,

On February 26th, 2018, the people of Sint Maarten went to the polls and elected a new group of parliamentarians. In doing so creating the basis for the formation of a new government. Today, four (4) months later we have before us a new council of ministers supported by a new majority in Parliament.

During the four (4) months formation period for this cabinet, I consulted with various persons. As a result of the consultations, I named and worked with informateurs Mrs.  Nilda Lynch-Arduin and Mr. Jan Beaujon who presented their findings to me on March 12, 2018. To both of you I therefore express my thanks for your contribution to this process. Based on their findings I named Mr. Theodore Heyliger as formateur to form a new government. The formateur, after securing a coalition agreement between the UD and SMCP factions in parliament, initiated the screening process for candidates on May 14, 2018, based on the regulations regulating the pre-screening of candidates before nomination. The screening was completed on Friday June 15, 2018. On June 22, 2018, having addressed the outcome of the screening, formateur Heyliger presented me with the candidate-ministers, candidate minister-plenipotentiary and candidate deputy minister- plenipotentiary supported by a majority in Parliament for appointment and swearing-in. You have, as a result, just witnessed the transfer of executive responsibility for the governance of our country to a new team of Ministers. To all who gave their input to the formation process I hereby, also on behalf of the people of Sint Maarten, express my gratitude. And in particular, I wish to thank Mr. Heyliger for his work and cooperation as formateur.

Prime Minister, Ministers,
Today, four months since the February 26, 2018, election and almost 10 months since the passing of hurricane Irma, you have been given the full mandate to govern our island in difficult circumstances. Hurricane Irma and her aftermath have, as I have stated before, set our country back in no small way. And while we have made great strides in the past 10 months, we still have quite some work to do. Quite some work to meet the urgent challenge of rebuilding Sint Maarten. In that respect I encourage you to take steps to meet the urgent needs of our people in terms of, among others, employment and housing.

As you take up your mandate I therefore hereby encourage you to do so from the perspective of opportunities. That is by: Seizing Opportunities To Rebuild a sustainable Sint Maarten. I encourage you to do so because challenges weigh heavy on you and opportunities give you energy.

Prime Minister, ministers,
The challenges we face today are and should be approached vigorously as opportunities for renewal and revitalization. Those are among others:
a. An opportunity to strengthen our hurricane resilience, through improved building codes;
b. An opportunity to deal with the landfill by implementing a sustainable waste management solution;
c. An opportunity to restore our economic gateway, Princess Juliana International Airport to its position as a premier regional gateway;
d. An opportunity to secure the rebuilding of our hotels and restaurants;
e. An opportunity to further upgrade our health care facilities and services;
f. An opportunity to revitalize our capital and commercial center, Philipsburg;
g. An opportunity to further optimize relationships within the Kingdom and work with the Netherlands and the World Bank to realize the NRRP; and
h. An opportunity to reignite the growth of our economy towards a sustainable recovery.

To make use of these opportunities it will be essential to conduct sound financial management based on fiscal discipline.  And in doing so seize the opportunity to rebuild a more sustainable Sint Maarten as envisaged by your Governing Program.

Prime Minister, Ministers,
As you assume your mandate to govern this beautiful country, I trust that you, in keeping with your oath, will work to overcome our challenges by seizing these opportunities aimed at improving the wellbeing of our people.
And in doing so it is essential that you always remind yourselves that accepting the position of Minister through the taking of the oath today, is a solemn expression of your commitment to perform your duties with integrity. It is your pledge of allegiance to the King and the Kingdom Charter, it is your individual declaration to always uphold the Constitution of Sint Maarten and it is your solemn affirmation to always dedicate yourself to foster the wellbeing of the People of Sint Maarten. Through your oath, you have accepted the obligation to serve all the people of Sint Maarten.
In that regard, there rests on you, individually as Ministers, and jointly as Council of Ministers a great responsibility. Your decisions will have lasting influences on the lives of the people of Sint Maarten. Thus, as you deliberate on taking action on the matters before you during your governing period, I wish you wisdom, individually and jointly, in the conduct of your responsibilities as you seek to meet your constitutional responsibility to the people of Sint Maarten.

With that in mind, I hereby congratulate the people of Sint Maarten with the installation of this new government and similarly congratulate each of you and your families with your appointments as Prime-Minister, Ministers, Minister Plenipotentiary and deputy Minister Plenipotentiary.

Thank you, God bless you and May God Bless Sint Maarten and protect its coast.