Reunification of Ana Carolina Lazaro Cuevas and her children.

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Good day to the people of Sint Maarten.

Today, I extend my heartfelt strength and love to the people of the Cayman Islands, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica, Grenada, and the Carriacou Island. Additionally, I wish a happy Fourth of July to all American citizens residing in Sint Maarten. 

Turning to today’s topic, I want to address the recent return of Miss Anna Carolina Lazaro Cuevas, who was reunited with her children yesterday, July 3rd, 2024. There has been considerable discussion surrounding this event, and I would like to provide some clarity.

Ms. Cuevas is a young mother of seven minor children who has been separated from them for nearly seven years. This separation persisted under two previous governments that failed to address the situation with the seriousness it deserved. Ms. Cuevas, a native Sint Maarten, embodies the spirit of our nation. When I spoke with her, our accents were the same, because she was born and raised here.

As a father and grandfather, learning about Ms. Cuevas’ situation moved me deeply. It compelled me to find a solution. In my role as Minister of Justice, I have made numerous decisions to reunite families and support those in need. Ms. Cuevas, despite her Dominican Republic descendance, has been granted a visa waiver extension to allow her to return to St. Maarten and rectify her and her children’s legal statuses. Four of her children are born Sint Maartener.

Some may question the legality of this decision. Let me assure you, as Minister of Justice, I operate within the bounds of the law. Every individual with legal issues on this island has the right to seek assistance and clarification from their Minister. Again, dealing with a situation of such a sensitive nature, when I saw how tall her eldest son was, just take off seven years off of that, how much he has missed the upbringing and the teachings of his mother. This minister got very emotional after learning this.

I also want to recognize Mr. Gromyko Wilson, who played a pivotal role in advocating for Ms. Cuevas. His efforts are commendable and exemplify the spirit of justice and compassion we strive for in our government.

Sint Maarten is a diverse nation, home to over 150 nationalities. Many of us, including myself, are born to foreign parents. We must adopt and amend legislation to meet the needs of our people, ensuring our country flourishes through unity and lawful governance.

Thank you for your time and attention. May God continue to bless you and Sint Maarten. Thank you.