St. Maarten Day speeches focus on cooperationPOSTED: 11/12/15 6:57 PM
From left: Collectivité President Aline Hanson, Préfète Délégué Anne Laubies, Governor Eugène Holiday, Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs, Chief Inspector Denise Jacobs, Franklin Richards, MP Sarah Wescot-Williams, MP Cornelius de Weever, Justice Minister Dennis Richardson and Education Minister Rita Bourne-Gumbs at the border monument in Cole Bay. Photo Today / Leo Brown
Crowd at Cyrus Wathey Square
St. Maarten – The official opening ceremony for St. Maarten Day that took place yesterday at 11 a.m. at Cyrus Wathey Square in Philipsburg drew an audience of around two hundred people. Government officials, people that were enjoying their national holiday, some members of the press and even some tourists all showed up while French- and Dutch-side officials held their speeches.
Prime Minister Gumbs started the official ceremony with his speech that mainly focused on the cooperation between the French-side and the Dutch-side. Prime Minister Gumbs even told about the successful corporation of the Dutch and the French-side regarding a sewage-plant that was funded with EU money. Prime Minister Gumbs also gave some attention to the fact that the Dutch and French police should focus on working together in an even more intensive way to stop the rise of crime.
After Prime Minister Gumbs finished his speech it was time for the French-side Préfète Délégué Anne Laubies. She started her speech in English, but joked about switching to French. Primarily her speech was also focused on the corporation between the two sides of the island. And she also addressed the fact that the crime rate on the island was reaching record heights, which was something that needed to be taken care of in a corporative way.
It was the moment for Governor Holiday to start with his speech. A speech that mainly focused on mutual understanding, acceptance and respect. Governor Holiday started by stating: “Where over the world, say where, you find an island there, so lovely small with nations free, As thee Saint Martin in the sea? Oh I love thy paradise!”
Governor Holiday continued by stating that St. Maarten’s Day was a special day to him, especially because he pictured himself as the offspring of Dutch Cul-de-Sac and French side hope Estate going back some 7 generations.
“I consider it a privilege and a special honor to speak to you on our national holiday. It is special because it is a celebration of our common journey, our common achievements and our common destiny as people.” he added.
He continued by stating that there was an urgency to join forces and to unify the recourses with mutual respect. He added that we are living in challenging times. Times of troubling national debate regarding important developments across our Island.
Some points that he focused on were unemployment, crime and poverty. But he also talked about the necessarily changes that need to take place in de fields of national patrimony such as the use of lands and protection of our national heritage. The governor also addressed the fact that there is too much political instability that needs to be taken care of. After the governor ended his speech and left the stage, it was time for raising the glasses and to toast on St. Maarten’s Day and the future of the Island.
Most people who attended the ceremony said they had good memories of the event in the past, but were looking at it in a different way today.