the Governor's Speeches

Back to Speeches Indexjan 07, 2011

Excellence in Governance To Build a Stronger Sint Maarten

Delivered by His Excellency Eugene B. Holiday at the Governor's 
New Year's reception 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Evening,

As your hosts, Marie-Louise and I are pleased to welcome you at this: the first annual Governor’s New Year’s reception. It is my hope that this reception marks the beginning of what will become a governance tradition in the building and uniting of Sint Maarten as a Country. For what better way to build than via the good Sint Maarten custom of bringing people together and breaking bread together. It is in this spirit that I have chosen the topic for my new year’s address, namely: “Excellence in Governance to build a stronger Sint Maarten”. 

The choice of my theme is grounded in my conviction that now, in the early stage of forming our country, is the moment for us as a people to reach for the sky, to reach for excellence in the perfecting of the principles upon which our nation was founded; the principles of freedom, equality, solidarity, accountability, transparency and justice as anchored in our constitution.

As the New Year 2011 begins, let us thank God for watching over our country.

Looking back, 2010 is best characterized as a transformational year in the history and development of Sint Maarten; with high point the promulgation of the amendment of the Charter of the Kingdom and of the constitution of Sint Maarten on October 10, 2010. On that historic day I stated before Parliament, “…..there rests on us a great responsibility; a responsibility to build ….. a stronger Sint Maarten for future generations”.

Since that historic day:

  • we have and continue to gain experience with the ground rules for country Sint Maarten;
  • we have taken and continue to take steps to set up critical institutions for the functioning of our young country;
  • we have taken steps to foster and strengthen Caribbean and transatlantic relations in the Kingdom; and 
  • we have been confronted with fundamental questions as to the functioning of our democracy and in response provided answers that will contribute to the further building and future functioning of our country.

In short, we have during the first three months of our new constitutional status gained valuable experience which can be used in our efforts as we work to build a stronger Sint Maarten.

Looking ahead, as we gather here this evening at the beginning of 2011 at the start of the first full calendar year as a country, it is my hope that we will continue to build and improve on these experiences as we set out to fulfill our responsibilities, collectively and individually. And as we do so I trust that we will strive for excellence in governance. My call for excellence in governance is based on the universal rule: that the better the level of governance in a society, the higher the level of wellbeing of and the stronger the community. As I say this it is important to state that for me, excellence in governance is not a goal in itself. It is for me above all a precondition for meeting the challenge of enhancing education, improving health care, reducing poverty, maintaining our culture, protecting our environment and promoting sustainable financial economic development. Yes it is a precondition for achieving the goals on Sint Maarten, which you and I believe in.

Ladies and gentlemen, let us – all of us - therefore embrace “excellence in governance” as the core aspect of our actions to build a stronger Sint Maarten. As our first new year as a country commences let us depending on where we stand, among others, embrace excellence in public, educational, medical, corporate, cultural, environmental, financial and economic governance.

In summary, as our young nation and new country looks back upon the events of a constitutionally historic year, and forward to the next and beyond, let us individually and collectively, in the interest of the common cause, take up our responsibilities for excellence in governance to build a stronger Sint Maarten for ourselves and for future generations. In my role as Governor I hereby, with a vision for a stronger Sint Maarten, reaffirm my pledge to continue to work with government and other stakeholders to serve the people of St. Maarten in this critical and all important period in the evolution and development of our beloved island.

Ladies and gentlemen, in closing the opportunity to reach for excellence in governance to build a stronger Sint Maarten is before us; let us reach for it as we start this New Year.

With that, Marie-Louise and I wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous new year.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless Sint Maarten.