In the vibrant diversity of Sint Maarten, what determines a “true” Sint Maartener has been hotly debated both inside and outside of parliament. Historically, those with generations of family on the island have claimed this title, emphasizing deep-rooted connections and heritage. However, as our society evolves, it’s essential to recognize a broader identity—one that is based on shared values rather than last names or ancestry.
The demographic makeup of Sint Maarten is diverse, with many residents stemming from various parts of the world. In this context, the notion of a “true” Sint Maartener becomes blurred. Thus, it becomes crucial to rethink the identity of a “true” Sint Maartener in more inclusive terms. What should define a true Sint Maartener is not where you were born or the passport you hold, but the values you uphold and the commitment you have to this island’s growth and prosperity. This identity should revolve around shared principles and dedication to the island’s well-being rather than just one’s place of birth.
I believe, a true Sint Maartener, as we look forward, is best described as someone who embraces the following values:
- National Pride: A genuine love for Sint Maarten, its culture, and its people is at the heart of a true Sint Maartener’s identity. This pride does not come from mere existence but from active participation in nation-building.
- Community Focus: Prioritizing the collective over the individual. A true Sint Maartener is dedicated to the community, always looking for ways to serve and enhance the welfare of the island.
- Moral Integrity: Holding a robust sense of justice, a Sint Maartener knows the difference between right and wrong and stands firm on these principles, advocating for what’s right for the country at large.
- Striving for Greatness: True Sint Maarteners know the value of giving their all, no matter what they do. It doesn’t matter if they’re the mechanic down the road, a cleaning lady working at Maho, a caring nurse, or a lawyer; they aim to excel in their roles. It’s about pushing to be the best version of themselves, not just for personal gain, but to uplift those around them and the whole of Sint Maarten. Their drive for greatness is a reflection of their deep pride for their community and nation.
- The Friendly Spirit: True to the island’s nickname, “the friendly island,” a genuine Sint Maartener is kind, polite, and welcoming. This warmth not only draws people in but reinforces the communal atmosphere the island is renowned for.
By refocusing our understanding of what it means to be a true Sint Maartener, we transition from a narrow perspective based on ancestry, which mainly divides us, to a broader, more inclusive view centered on shared values. In this vision, the identity of a true Sint Maartener isn’t just about birthplace. It’s about an unwavering dedication to the island’s prosperity and the shared principles that unite its people.
As we start this journey to re-identify our understanding of a true Sint Maartener, it’s an opportune moment for reflection among all who call this island home. What values resonate with you deeply? How do your actions and aspirations align with the welfare and progress of our beloved community? This journey isn’t about conforming to a predefined mold but rather about fostering a personal commitment to values that fortify our collective identity. It’s about embracing principles that go beyond our diverse backgrounds, creating a unified front that propels Sint Maarten to new heights. Let’s each become keepers of these values, nurturing them in ourselves and inspiring them in others. Together, we’ll weave an even stronger social fabric, one that honors our past while boldly striding into a future where everyone contributes uniquely to our island’s tapestry. This is your invitation to be an integral part of that journey—what values will you bring along?