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Formal Reflections in memory of Reynold Amando Groeneveldt

Formal Reflections in memory of
Reynold Amando Groeneveldt
His Excellency drs. Eugene B. Holiday
Governor of Sint Maarten
June 6, 2022

A Blessed Morning to all,

The Preamble to our Constitution opens with the words “WE, THE PEOPLE OF SINT MAARTEN”. On this Monday June 6, 2022, “WE, THE PEOPLE assemble with friends, here in church and online, to celebrate the life of a champion of our Constitution, the life of my late esteemed colleague and friend, Reynold Amando Groeneveldt.

With his sudden passing on Tuesday May 24, 2022, his family and, with them, we the people of Sint Maarten have suffered a great loss.

Glenda, Angela, Kristel, Alcira, Gladys, and the rest of his family, Marie Louise and I wish you strength and God’s gracious support during this difficult period.

While reflecting it struck me that he had so many plans. And as I thought about his plans, I saw the person I came to know. He was a knowledgeable, dedicated, kind, generous, and loyal person. A person who was always ready to serve. And serve he did.

Originally an educator, Reynold Groeneveldt went on to serve his country in various capacities with distinction. He was a mentor for many, a legal scholar who helped prepare and then helped to expand public knowledge of our Constitution. His public service touched many.
In the past few days, I have heard several persons reminisce about being taught by him in school. I have listened to others speak of his fine qualities as Head of the Department of Education. As an educator turned attorney, I have seen the passion with which he defended the cases of his clients. And in the final months of the Netherlands Antilles, as we moved to the constitutional transition of 10-10-10, I experienced him as acting Lieutenant Governor of the island Territory of Sint Maarten. 

Looking back at the summer of 2010 as I prepared to become Governor of Sint Maarten, Reynold was a candidate for Acting Governor. As Governor you have a say in who would be the Acting Governor. My choice for Reynold Groeneveldt as Acting Governor to join me in my new function as Governor was my first key decision. Looking back, I am very pleased with that decision. As colleagues, we worked well together despite our differing personalities. For example, Reynold was more open and ready to speak in public, while I am much more reserved. But what mattered most to me is that we shared similar values, a passion to serve, and a deep love for country and family.

His love for his family and especially his daughter Angela was evident in many of our conversations. Angela, through my conversations with your dad I have come to know quite a bit about you. When he spoke about you and he often did, he radiated a father’s pure joy, love, and pride. To his entire family and, in particular, to Glenda and Angela, I say thank you for sharing Reynold with WE, THE PEOPLE OF SINT MAARTEN.  

Thank you because he was there for Sint Maarten. Reynold Groeneveldt was there on October 9, 2010, at the break of midnight as the last acting Lieutenant Governor to close the curtain on our status as an island Territory of the Netherlands Antilles and to usher in Sint Maarten’s new status as a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. He was there on October 10, 2010, to assume the new role as the first Acting Governor of Sint Maarten. And he was reappointed in 2016. As the first Acting Governor he gave content to the role and in that capacity my staff and I could always count on him to hold the fort during my absence. I could leave the island, knowing the Governorship and island was in good hands. He was there throughout the political crisis and constitutional challenges which our country faced. As I navigated those challenges, I had the privilege to exchange views with him on hot issues such as the right to dissolve parliament. His profound passion for the office and the issues of governance were evident during many of our conversations behind closed doors. He handled himself with dignity and as a true Sint Maartener was always hospitable and generous, always willing to share his time and knowledge. 

Reynold Amando Groeneveldt was one of the most decent persons I have ever worked with. 
I was saddened to learn of the passing of my colleague, Acting Governor Reynold Groeneveldt. With his passing Sint Maarten has suffered a great loss.
To Glenda, to Angela, to Kristel, to Alcira, to Gladys, to the rest of his family and to all who hold Reynold Amando Groeneveldt dear, I hereby on behalf of WE, THE PEOPLE OF SINT MAARTEN, the Staff of my Cabinet, my wife Marie Louise and myself, extend sincere condolences, deepest sympathy and prayers. May God give you the strength to move forward in the knowledge that his was a life well-lived. A life which made a difference in the lives of many and in the development of our country.

May his work forever continue to inspire WE THE PEOPLE OF SINT MAARTEN.