the Governor's Speeches

Back to Speeches Indexfeb 20, 2015


by His Excellency drs. Eugene B. Holiday Governor of Sint Maarten
Sheer Restaurant, Philipsburg, Sint Maarten

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening,

It is a great pleasure for Mrs. Holiday and for me to welcome you to this reception organized in honor of the Consular corps of Sint Maarten with the theme: Strengthening Ties. As a result I extend a very special welcome to our guests of honor, the consuls, and thank you for your presence at this gathering.

I have invited you here this evening to emphasize the importance our people and government place on fostering, in a spirit of mutual cooperation, the relations between the countries you represent and Sint Maarten.  A position which your governments seemly share. For since becoming an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, these relations were consolidated by a steady increase in the number of accredited General and Honorary consuls to Sint Maarten. This year we will celebrate the 5th anniversary of our autonomy as a country and I am pleased to see that the Sint Maarten Consular Corps has grown to about seventeen (17) consulates, five (5) of which are resident consuls.

This growth, Ladies and Gentlemen, is a welcome development because it is the bases for my organizing this evening and underscores the theme which I have chosen for this evening’s reception: “Strengthening Ties”.  That is international relations which are so important for the wellbeing of the people of our small, open Caribbean nation, Sint Maarten.

In an increasingly globalized world strong ties between countries are critical to foster the interests and aspirations of our citizens. That is because strong ties is the bedrock of effective partnerships and cooperation. In the case of most of our countries ties have been initiated foremost through person to person and business to business contacts. And what better way to foster stronger ties between our respective countries than to tap into and build on the ties initiated by our peoples and businesses.

As Sint Maarteners our people have and continue to visit your countries as tourists,  live as students or work in your countries. At the same time Sint Maarten have and continues to welcome many of your citizens each year as tourists and serves as a home away from home for many of your citizens who work and do business here. Records show that contacts between our citizens go back several generations – in some cases such as the Dominican Republic and the United States as far back as the late 19th and early 20th century. And while the link is not always clear or a straight line, these contacts play an important role in building expertise, mutual respect and understanding and as a result shared values and ideas. This is especially important in building shared principles of democracy, the rule of law, the dignity and value of the individual, and the entitlement of all individuals to enjoy fundamental rights and freedoms.  It is in other words essential for the building and maintaining of strong communities in which our citizens can live safe, free and in prosperity.

As consuls representing your countries and as government, business and labor representatives of Sint Maarten, we are as a result here to work together to serve our citizens by facilitating cooperation in critical areas for our people.

Ladies and gentlemen,

To do so I encourage you to join the government and people of Sint Maarten to identify and quantify opportunities for mutual growth. In that context I believe that it is our obligation to move forward as agents for partnerships between our countries, communicating and stimulating stronger ties through mutually beneficial cooperation.  In that regard I suggest that we move forward to, among others, foster:
a. First, cooperation that promotes investments in educational programs and exchanges, necessary to fuel our knowledge based economies;
b. Second, cooperation that supports the maintenance of quality medical services and information exchange in an highly interconnected  world;
c. Third, cooperation that stimulates aviation and shipping for unhampered tourism and trade growth; and
d. Fourth, cooperation that strengthens our institutions to combat forces that threaten the peace and stability required to offer our citizens the prosperity they aspire.

These are some critical issues for Sint Maarten as a small open Caribbean country as we continue to chart our way forward and no doubt factors that speak to the aspirations of the peoples you represent.

Thus as we gather here this evening at this reception, I wish to thank each of you for the valuable work you do for our residents, your citizens visiting or living here. And in doing so I wish to leave you, as consuls, with the message that our countries need each other amidst the many challenges we face in this world. I therefore invite you to continue to work towards the strengthening of ties by fostering partnerships and cooperation in the areas of education, health care, tourism, trade and the combating of crime for the safety, security, health and prosperity of our peoples.

And as I leave you with that message, I close trusting that this first annual Governor’s Consular Corps Reception will offer one of many platforms to meet for the exchange of views and ideas towards stronger ties between our countries in the interest of  our peoples.

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