Protocol having been established, a warm welcome to all, and a special welcome to the newest batch of dedicated and committed to serve officers to the KPSM family. I extend my gratitude and congratulations to the 18 of you, your families, the justice academy, support, the Ministry of Justice and KPSM.
Today we are here to honor your success, and as the Prime Minister of St. Maarten, I am more than pleased to have the opportunity to share this wonderful moment with you. In preparation for something of meaning to share with you this morning, I came across this quote in keeping with your theme on diversity, specifically, diversity in leadership.
“Diversity at our leadership table is a necessity, it provides us with an opportunity to amplify the voices and lived experiences of our members and our communities.” As new leaders within our community, each new officer has something to bring to the table; some experiences as well as a unique voice that can aid in providing continuous improvement of service to our very special and diverse community. That is why it is so important that we embrace a workplace culture that embraces our differences because it is vital in ensuring that we mirror our community and strive for impartiality and inclusivity in all our tasks, especially the multifaceted tasks that you now take up as a law enforcement officer.
The Law Enforcement International Oath of Honor. “On my honor, I will never betray my integrity, my character, or the public trust. I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for my actions. I will always maintain the highest ethical standards and uphold the values of my community, and the agency I serve.”
I would like to take this time to share with you my guiding principle that I continue to use throughout my life, whether as a mother, an educator, member of society, member of parliament, minister, human being and as Prime Minister of St. Maarten. Four simple principles: Respect, Impulse Control, Compassion and Equity. Four rules, acronym RICE, very easy to remember. Every single list of rules you can find can fit in these four.
Firstly Respect, simply implies that one should have respect for oneself and others. As an officer you are often put in a position where you are respected by others; however, while you receive your due respect, be mindful of the way in which you treat others.
Secondly, Impulse Control; and again, starting with self-control. An unknown author said “Never do something permanently foolish, while being temporary upset. Impulse control is something we must learn and take the time to stop, breathe and think. You will be called on to make snap decisions that can have lifelong consequences, so ensuring that you are in control when doing so is paramount in the daily actions and decisions you will take.
Thirdly Compassion, being often the first one on the scene, your compassion and understanding are crucial. Sometimes the task is more about mediation, de-escalation and empathy. “Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another and feeling with the heart of another.” – Alfred Adler.
Lastly, Equity. Equity is not just equality, it’s more than that, it’s being impartial and ensuring that everyone gets what they deserve. A police officer isn’t a judge, but as far as law enforcement, persons should be able to rely on fair and impartial treatment.
To sum it up, if you leave here with nothing else from what I have shared remember the acronym RICE, Respect for yourself and others, Impulse Control; think before you act, Compassion; seeing things through the eyes of others; and Equity; Treat all persons fairly, with human dignity we all deserve.
On behalf of the Council of Ministers, and the people of St. Maarten, I hereby extend heartfelt congratulations on the steps you have taken to your goals, your dreams, and thereby the goals and dreams for a safe and strong St. Maarten. What you have achieved today, is but a step. Continue to be a lifelong learner and seek opportunities to grow in your daily tasks but also the achievement of the various levels and ranks. The completion of this training signifies your commitment. You’ve done an excellent job and I look forward to seeing you serving in our community in all your diverse characteristics and everything else that is reflective of our community.
You are with this achievement, leaders and role models in our community. I wish you much success, individually and collectively as you join KPSM. Much strength to you, much love to you, much honor and much respect.
On behalf of the Government of St. Maarten, Thank You!