the Governor's Speeches

Back to Speeches Indexdec 19, 2014

Speech given at the appointment and swearing-in ceremony of the new Cabinet of Ministers

Chairman of Parliament,
Prime-Minister, President of the Collectivity of Saint Martin,
Parliamentarians, Ministers,
Invited Guests,
My fellow Sint Maarteners,

Good Afternoon,

The August 29, 2014, parliamentary elections set the stage for the transfer of executive responsibility for the governance of our beautiful country from one team of ministers to a new team of ministers. Today, 3 months and three weeks, later we have before us a new team of ministers. It is the culmination of the official formation process amidst complex and tensed domestic and Kingdom circumstances.

During the formation which concluded today I consulted with various persons and named and worked with formateur Mr. Theodore Heyliger as well as with “informateurs” Mr. Joseph Richardson and Mr. Marcel Gumbs. As a result the new team of ministers supported by a majority in Parliament was presented to me by formateur Mr. Heyliger on December 17, 2014 for appointment and swearing-in. To all who gave their input to the formation process I hereby express my gratitude. And in particular I wish to thank Mr. Heyliger for his work and cooperation as formateur.

En route to today’s transfer, we have experienced two formation processes, a decision by the Kingdom Council of Ministers to intervene in the screening process of Ministers, the rejection of that decision by the Parliament and Council of Ministers of Sint Maarten, and the resulting cooling of relations between Philipsburg and The Hague along with a lively debate regarding the position of the Governor.
In short a lot has transpired in that period and it is expected that there will be lively and heated debate regarding these developments for some time to come.

This debate which questions the integrity of Government is cause for concern. It is a matter that concerns all Sint Maarteners, for it is a matter that clouds the good and positive aspects of our people and threatens our further development. Coupled with existing budgetary constraints, with recent reports regarding government own companies and prevailing social challenges the key question for this new government is how do we progress from here to continue to create opportunities for growth for all.

It is a question that concerns everyone living on our island because anything that affects one of us will affect all of us. It therefore behooves us, all of us to recognize that fact and to act accordingly. For after all, that’s the spirit that has always moved our nation forward.

I believe that we can all agree that to realize further progress there is a need for unified, committed and resolute action.
• Actions that promotes and strengthens a sense of common cause in devotion to Sint Maarten;
• Actions committed to rebuilding trust in Government by the people who we have pledged to serve; and
• Actions that strengthens the sense of obligation to serve our communities interests.

I therefore challenge you as the new team of ministers, as you assume your mandate to govern this beautiful country, to make the further creation of opportunities for growth for all your priority.

I do so against the background of the fact that accepting the function of minister through the taking of the oath today is:
• First, a solemn expression of your commitment to perform your function with integrity;
• Second, it is your pledge of allegiance to the King and the Kingdom Charter;
• Third, it is your individual declaration to always uphold the Constitution of Sint Maarten; and
• Finally, it is your pledge to always dedicate yourself to foster the wellbeing of the People of Sint Maarten.

In that regard, there rests on you individually as ministers and jointly as Council of Ministers a great responsibility. Through your oath, you have accepted the obligation to serve all the people of Sint Maarten.

It is my hope and trust, that as you take the torch from your predecessors, that you will, through the application of the principles of good governance, cause the torch to radiate a bright light directing the way to unite our people in a common cause, anchored in trust and rooted in an obligation to serve towards the further overall and balanced development of our island nation.

Your actions and decisions will have lasting influences on the lives of our people and how we are viewed in the Kingdom, in the region, and internationally. Thus, as you deliberate on taking action on the matters before you during your governing period, I wish you strength and 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 individually and jointly with your appointments as Prime-Minister, Ministers and Minister Plenipotentiary.

Thank you, God Bless you and God Bless Sint Maarten