the Governor's Speeches

Back to Speeches Indexnov 19, 2019

Address for the swearing-in ceremony of the Interim Ministers Cabinet by His Excellency the Governor

Chair of Parliament, Members of Parliament
Prime-Minister, Ministers,
Distinguished Guests, Good Morning,

On September 22, 2019, a shift in the majority in Parliament took place resulting in the request to form a new government and in the decision of the outgoing government to dissolve parliament and call new elections on January 9, 2019.
Based on the request of the new majority to form a new government, I consulted with various persons and on September 30, 2019 named Ms. Silveria Jacobs as formateur to form an interim government. Ms. Jacobs accepted the formation assignment and presented her final report on November 16, 2019. To all who gave their input to the transition and formation process and, in particular to formateur, Ms. Silveria Jacobs, I hereby express my appreciation, also on behalf of the people of Sint Maarten.
Ladies and Gentlemen
You have, as a result of the formation process, just witnessed the transfer of executive responsibility for the governance of our country to a new team of Ministers supported by the new majority in Parliament.

Prime Minister, Ministers,
As you assume your mandate to govern our country in these difficult and challenging times, I shall share a few thoughts with you.
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 to the Charter of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.  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. I therefore hereby advise you to use your oath as a guide in the fulfillment of duties.
Having such a guide and anchor is important under normal circumstances and even more so during challenging times. During the formation process I emphasized, and now that the formation process is concluded I wish to reemphasize, that our country faces several pressing challenges for its future development. Considering the interim nature of this government it was agreed that you will give priority to:
- concluding the legislation regarding the combating of money laundering and financing of terrorism;
- the execution of the agreements made with The Netherlands regarding the financing of the national recovery of Sint Maarten, including the financing of the rehabilitation of the airport;
- concluding the budget for 2020;
- furthering the preparation of the execution of the scheduled elections; and
- realizing electoral reform by bringing the Ordinance for the Registration and Finances of Political Parties and the Election Ordinance in accordance with the Constitution.
Your giving priority to and following through on existing government commitments on these issues will provide for needed continuity to effectively address the challenges we face despite the political developments.

With regard to mentioned challenges I must stress that the level of urgency in two cases demand that you must act immediately:
- The first pressing course of action is the handling of the amendment to the penal procedural code as part of our international commitment to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism. This is necessary to reduce the risk of being blacklisted; and
- The second urgent course of action is the signing of the pending loan agreements for the financing of the rehabilitation of our airport as part of our commitments with the bondholders, the European Investment Bank, the World Bank and the Netherlands. This is necessary to help secure our airport and our country’s long term economic recovery.
Acting immediately means ensuring that Parliament and government take and execute decisions regarding the amendment of the penal code and regarding the airport financing by the end of this week. Not doing so can come at a high price which we cannot afford. To achieve any of these urgent objectives we will have to work together at home and with others. It is as such in our interest to take the lead in that regard. To do so I refer you to and encourage you to apply the guiding principle as outlined in the preamble to our own constitution, which states that:

“WE THE PEOPLE OF SINT MAARTEN ……” are “ …determined to work with each other, with our partners in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, ….. and with all peoples of the world ….”.

Thus, as you assume the responsibility to govern our country, I urge you and trust that you will apply our guiding principle of cooperation which underpins our constitution in your handling of these urgent matters for our country’s future.

Prime Minister, Ministers,
Today, almost two months since the previous team of Ministers made their positions available, you come before the people of Sint Maarten as a new team of ministers to further the ongoing recovery process aimed at meeting the urgent needs of our people.
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 interim government and similarly congratulate each of you and your families with your appointments as Prime-Minister and Ministers.

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