Dear People of St. Maarten,
As we come to the end of 2016, and looking forward to 2017, it is the perfect opportunity to reflect, analyze and decide what was good, what was well done, what could have been done better, or what never should be done again.
It is also a great time to look inwards to ourselves, looking at what we need to adjust within in order to put our best foot forward in 2017.
This year 2016 was indeed a challenging time for many of us. Some may have lost loved ones, a job, or plain out lost all hope. As a people of faith, however, I pray that we see this new year as one filled with new opportunities, new possibilities and one that we should welcome with open arms, an open mind and most importantly an open heart.
We can take or leave what 2016 brought to us in growth and challenges and use them to build whom we want to be and what we want to achieve in 2017, both individually as well as collectively. God gives the toughest battles to his strongest soldiers – as such, give thanks for the past, challenges and all, as well as for the future of opportunities exemplified by a new year which will ring in on Sunday January 1, 2017.
We, as people and a budding country are extremely blessed and grateful; so let 2017 be the year of hope, unity, love and making the most of opportunities to improve the quality of life for all who call St. Maarten home. Let us all strive to make St. Maarten a better place in all we do, write, say, share, love, guide and help. Let us build each other up, let us together find solutions to the challenges we face as we are stronger together.
An acronym that comes to mind is one of R.I.C.E. – Respect, Impulse Control, Compassion and Equity – which I shared with schools around St. Maarten about a year ago. Some graduates recently reminded me of this and claim that it helped them to focus their actions. We, as adults, should employ these simple rules of life, show respect for all, control our impulses – doing the right thing at the right time, for the right reason, having compassion for others and treating others with equity – fairness. Simple rules that can change a society.
I wish our young people much success as they contribute from the heart to our society. Your input is invaluable, our country needs you at your best. To our honorable senior citizens of St. Maarten, whom we owe much, I express my gratitude for morals, values and hard work ethic, which you have instilled in us and all future generations. You also have much to be honored and revered for and we are proud that you remain open to be life-long learners and true examples to us all.
To all people of St. Maarten: May the coming year be filled with joy, great health, love, dreams, and actions to realize these dreams. May you dream and live without reservation, as only you can do so. I wish to all a blessed, healthy and prosperous New Year 2017.