Toespraak van gouverneur Eugene Holiday t.g.v. nieuwjaarsreceptie
,,Marie-Louise and I are pleased to welcome and host you for this New Year’s Reception. In particular, I wish to acknowledge the presence of and say, Bienvenu to our brothers from the northern side of our island. I also, recognize and extend a special welcome to the members of the Parliaments of Aruba, of Curacao and of the Netherlands who are here with us this evening. Bon Bini and Welkom.
Tonight, as we gather here, we wish everyone present and across our sweet Sint Maarten land a most happy, healthy and successful new year. The beginning of a new year always exudes feelings of hope and possibility. May 2019, be a year, of hopes fulfilled and possibilities realized for all.
2018 was a particularly challenging year for many Sint Maarteners. Developments in 2018 were in almost every way tied to the need for recovery from the impact of hurricane Irma on our country. For many it was a year of personal challenges and for our country it was a year of extraordinary socio-economic, environmental, budgetary and political pressures.
As we look back on 2018 and forward to 2019, we must do so with the knowledge that, individually and collectively we have the resilience and confidence to overcome and progress. It is in that spirit that I shall center my message on the topic: Igniting national confidence to overcome our challenges.
Burdened by our challenges we, more often than not, overlook the strides that we have made in our private and public sectors. We overlook the many people in our community rebuilding their homes, reopening their businesses, helping their neighbors, supporting our youngster, hardworking residents simply making a difference.
In identifying our challenges and the urgency to address them, we sometimes fail to appreciate and celebrate, the dedicated efforts and contributions of our fine professionals and volunteers. Persons who – confident in their ability – day in and day out, work on the frontline to make progress possible and Sint Maarten a good place to live.
Going forward, I believe that we must tap into the example of our professionals and volunteers. And in doing so let their example serve as an inspiration to reinforce and channel our nation’s self-confidence to overcome our challenges. To overcome challenges as a result:
of unsustainable waste management practices and recurrent landfill fires; of inadequate airport capacity due to complications surrounding the repair of the terminal building; of insufficient hotel rooms; of reduced economic activities and employment opportunities; and of a weak public finance position due to budget and liquidity deficits.…….. just to name a few.
As we face these challenges we can draw hope and inspiration from the following words of Nelson Mandela and I quote: “It always seems impossible until it is done ..” unquote. Put differently: By taking action, it is possible to overcome our challenges. This is particularly important, in light of the debates with regard to the pace of the recovery and the varying views with regard to how to address the challenges we face. Debates in which:
We hear the voice of doubt – questioning our ability, saying that the challenges we face are too difficult; We hear the voice of discord – weighing in on our differences and questioning every decision; We hear the voice of resilience – reminding us that unity is strength and division is weakness; and We hear the voice of confidence – speaking to our inner potential, encouraging national action and proposing collaborative solutions.
Some voices are heard more often or louder than others. As we listen to these voices it is important to remember that each voice has its place, function and purpose. We must – at the same time – take note, that we can only learn from each other and work with each other, when we respect each other, stop to listen to each other and speak softly enough so that our voices can be heard.
By doing so we will hear each voice, in its own distinct way, saying that we share one common goal. Hearing that, is necessary to create the possibility for our nation to speak with one voice. And speaking with one voice will reinforce and ignite our national confidence and vice versa to overcome our challenges.
Igniting our national confidence is necessary to realize our potential and achieve the goals of our national agenda. These are the goals of economic recovery, of improved employment opportunities, of repairing our airport terminal, of rebuilding our infrastructure, of better housing, of excellence in education, of excellence in health care, of protecting our environment and of enhancing the quality of life of our people. And in doing so restoring and securing Sint Maarten as a beacon of hope and opportunity for generations to come.
For effective national confidence has the power to stimulate purposeful action and the strength to recognize that achieving our national recovery agenda cannot be achieved by one or two individuals, by government alone or in isolation.
Anchored in our national confidence we must, walk hand in hand at home and where necessary continue to establish constructive cooperation with our Northern, our Kingdom, our Caribbean and our international partners.
It is in that spirit that I as your Governor hereby offer my hand and call on all to join me to dedicate 2019 to our national confidence directed at united, purposeful and urgent action towards the further recovery and progress of Sint Maarten
It is with that offer and depending on us to tirelessly put our shoulders under the tasks ahead that I close, and hereby also on behalf of Marie-Louise, wish you and your family a year of peace, health, happiness and continued progress. Thank you, God bless you, and May God bless Sint Maarten and protect its coast.”