St. Maarten Prime Minister stresses unifying power of the flag

POSTED: 06/14/11 12:34 PM

“Not every observance needs to be a holiday”

St. Maarten – The jury is still out on a new coat of arms for St. Maarten, but Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams has acknowledged the three decades of unity that it and the flag has brought to St. Maarten. The acknowledgment of that unity and other core values were stressed on Monday at a Flag Day Ceremony in front of the St. Maarten Government Administration Building.

The attendees included Governor Eugene Holiday, Deputy Prime Minister Theodore Heyliger, Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunication Franklin Meyers, a parliamentary delegation led by 1st Vice Chair Petrus Leroy de Weever and the flag’s designer Rosie Richardson. At the end of the ceremony the governor, prime minister and other ministers, MPs and government officials inspected a detachment of police officers and members of the Voluntary Korps of St. Maarten (VKS). Neville York also played the Dutch anthem Het Wilhelmus and the St. Maarten song.

The Prime Minister told the assembled that beyond the white for peace and harmony, the red for courage and the blue for freedom and prosperity, the country’s flag represents “our past, our aspirations and hope for the future.” The country’s flag was also attached to two key moments of constitutional change – Aruba’s departure from the Netherlands Antilles and October 10, 2010 when the five island country was dismantled.

“No time was the flag more a symbol of our collective resolve, perseverance and pride than at its hoisting on October 10, 2010. Nestled in our flag are the symbols that represent not only our past, but the symbols that are the foundation of our island. And note that I use the term island, because along with our symbol of a state of law (the courthouse), our border monument is predicted, our little know national flower, the yellow sage and our national bird,” the Prime Minister said.

She added, “The period immediately following October 10, 2010 is extremely important for how we position ourselves as a country going forward. It offers us the opportunity to refocus on those things we have taken for granted as unifiers and I believe now more than ever, we need to rally around those symbols that are unique to us and our country. In times of triumph, it should boost our pride to be residents of this country and in times of adversity, it should remind us that we have strengths yet untapped.”

No holiday

Flag Day is not likely to become a holiday under the present administration as the Prime Minister does not believe every observance needs to be a holiday.

“I also have to admit that I don’t expect every household and business to be flying the St. Maarten flag on June 13th of next year,” Wescot-Williams said.


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