Securing our Future Through Unity and Collaboration

His Excellency, the Governor of Sint Maarten, drs. Eugene B. Holiday

My Fellow St. Martiners,

Marie-Louise and I wish you a Safe and Happy St. Martin Day.

Today, November 11, 2020, we celebrate our way of life. We do so as one St. Martin People. We celebrate our St. Martin heritage of unity and friendship. We celebrate our St. Martin spirit of community, kindness, and brotherhood, shaped by the actions and accomplishments of generations of St. Martiners. It is as such a day for us to celebrate and take pride in our culture and values which have made us the people and island we are today. We can do so in the knowledge that we will continue to secure our future through unity and collaboration.

On this St. Martin Day we are facing truly difficult times. This year’s celebration, like almost everything, is therefore different than any other.  Because of the current coronavirus pandemic there is no joint church service and no joint border ceremony. Cultural and other festivities are toned down and I am addressing you from my office, as opposed to from French Quarter. This socially distance form of celebration stands in stark contrast to our St. Martin Day spirit of brotherhood and friendship, of togetherness and collaboration. On this St. Martin Day we are, as a result reminded that we should never, never take our St. Martin way of life for granted. We must instead – always, always – stand up, to nurture and protect our way of life.

My Fellow St. Martiners,

It is in that spirit, that I believe that we ought to be proud of our frontliners. On this St. Martin Day I therefore pay tribute to our courageous men and women who continue to risk their own lives to protect our life and livelihood. We must remember those who work tirelessly to ensure the continued supply of health care, medicine, food, water, electricity, law enforcement services, education, telecommunications, transport, aviation, disaster management, social aid, and other essential services. As a people we are particularly indebted to our doctors, nurses, other healthcare workers, law enforcement officers and volunteers, who work on the frontline in the fight against the coronavirus. They exemplify the St. Martin characteristic of sacrifice. They remind us that our way of life and the future of our people is worth fighting for.

That is important given that the coronavirus has and continues to affect our way of life. It has taken a major toll globally and at home. It has created an unprecedented health, social, economic, and financial crisis.  It has caused much suffering and uncertainty and severely disrupted our life and livelihood. In times of crisis or danger we automatically want to hug and comfort our family and friends. Under the current circumstances we are restricted from doing just that, because every act of physical kindness and compassion can bring illness or even death. The virus as such demonstrates – in a very, very tough way – that our health, survival, and growth depend on each other’s actions. That is that each of us is responsible for the welfare of the other. The virus reminds us that we are our brother’s keeper. This reinforces the importance of the basic value underlying our St. Martin Day celebration: brotherhood. By further strengthening the basic St. Martin Day principle of brotherly collaboration, we can be assured that these difficult times will not last. Yes, we can be assured that these difficult times will not last.

The pandemic further reminds us that we form part of a global village, where developments are strongly interconnected. This implies that whatever affects one country affects the rest of the world. This is even more so for our shared 37 square miles island in the face of global challenges, such as climate change and the coronavirus. As a St. Martin people, we all know the saying: “The gale does not stop at the border”. Today we can add: “the virus does not stop at the border”. Because whatever affects one part of our island affects our entire island. The pandemic therefore reminds us that we must in the spirit of St. Martin Day, work with our brothers at home and with our partners overseas to effectively confront and overcome our common challenges and create a better future for all of us.

My fellow St. Martiners,

As we look to the future on this St. Martin Day, I trust that we will draw from our valued St. Martin Day principles of unity and collaboration. I am confident that we, as a St. Martin People, will rise to the challenge and embrace our St. Martin Day values to overcome and rebuild our island, just as we have done in the face of past challenges. I trust that we will draw from the strength of unity and seize the opportunities from the scale of collaboration to secure our future.

My Fellow St. Martiners,

It is with that ideal for our current and future wellbeing that Marie Louise and I wish you a Safe and Happy St. Martin Day Celebration.

Stay safe, Thank you, God Bless you and May God Bless Sint Maarten and protect its coast.

by His Excellency, the
Governor of Sint Maarten, Drs. Eugene B. Holiday,