Heyliger hopes for future prime minister from ABVO’s ranks

POSTED: 04/19/11 11:23 AM

Salome: “Let us take up the responsibility and seriously work”

St. Maarten – Continued leadership training and representation of worker’s rights was the main theme of Saturday’s celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the ABVO Union. A ceremony to mark the anniversary of the April 14, 1936 founding was held at Belair Community Center.

ABVO was founded by a group of civil servants led by Dr. Moses de Costa-Gomez as a movement to protect civil servants and their families, even though this group was considered among the elites. Since its founding the union has seen off-shoots like the NABLP – police union – and the Windward Islands Civil Servants Union was born. The current government staffers that it represents are police officers, prison guards, airport employees, staffers at the Tax Office, SZV (former SVB) and the BZV. The list could grow longer as “there is still interest by other entities to come aboard.”

President of the St. Maarten branch of the Union Randall Salome said both the island and the union had changed on October 10, 2010. In the union’s case focus has been shifted beyond simple representation. They now hope to help stimulate the growth and building of St. Maarten as a country.

“Since this is our home let us take up the responsibility and seriously work towards to the betterment for St. Maarten for the sake of our children, who are our future. It is therefore necessary that the members of the union work towards the improvement of the society of St. Maarten,” Salome said.

Based on the history outlined Salome also concluded, “All trade unions which exist in the islands were born through the ABVO union.”

Deputy Prime Minister Theodore Heyliger hopes that since the union delivered the first prime minister of the Netherlands Antilles, that a future prime minister of St. Maarten would come from among the current ranks of 350 members.

“Your foundation is strong and ups to this point our relationship has been cordial even though we have experienced some problems. We all have responsibilities in the society, especially where it comes to training the members in an effort to push our people forward. I may not be here to see another 75 years, so I would also like to wish you another 75 years and a happy 150th anniversary at some time in the future,” Heyliger said.

Other attending dignitaries were Governor drs Eugene Holiday, Minister of Health, Social Development and Labor Dr. Cornelius De Weever and past and present leaders of the different unions and their members.

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