DAWN BEACH – On 24 April at the Westin Dawn Beach Hotel & Spa, His Excellency Governor Eugene Holiday presented seven Royal Decorations on the occasion of King’s Day which is celebrated on 27 April.
The theme for the evening was “Serving Our Country, How Do We Stand?” The Governor’s speech in its entirety can be found below:
Esteemed Guests, Good evening
I am pleased to welcome you to this King’s Day celebration in honor of the birthday of His Majesty King Willem Alexander. The theme I chose for this evening is: Service and Country. As a result I have prepared my message around the question: How do we stand in relation to serving our country? It is a question that has been asked in different ways over the ages; it is a question that remains relevant today and in our Sint Maarten context.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in addressing this question, drawing from the Bible in his powerful 1968 mountaintop sermon, stated:
[“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me? But the good Samaritan reversed the question: If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”].
President John F. Kennedy in his 1961 inaugural address placed that question in a national perspective with his famous words:
[“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.]
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As I said earlier the question: How are we serving our country?, remains relevant today. To answer that question I believe that the preamble to our constitution gives some guidance where it states:
WE THE PEOPLE OF SINT MAARTEN, …….. Being determined to work with each other …….., …. believes in the principles of democracy, the rule of law, … the dignity and value of the individual ……… Declare that we wish to create a constitutional order …… .
These introductory words of our constitution, is our joint and individual declaration to work with and serve each other to create a constitutional order towards a democratic, just and sustainable society for we the people of Sint Maarten.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This brings me to the question how do we stand in regards to complying with our service to country declaration? Every day I hear people answer this question in various forms and from various perspectives and it is not uncommon to hear persons express doubt about the compliance of others. In that regard I instead recommend the approach of the good Samaritan in regards to what will happen to Sint Maarten if you and I do not serve it. And at the same time I wish to draw your attention to the commendable service which so many give to our country every day. For imagine what our society would be like without the service of – amongst others:
- our committed teachers to educate our children;
- our caring nurses and doctors to care for our sick;
- our dedicated police men to maintain law and order;
- our passionate artists to protect and enrich our culture;
- our loyal preservationist to protect our environment; or
- our many devoted community leaders who volunteer their time and knowledge for our social enrichment
Yes, every day the vast majority of our people rise and answer “their declaration to serve our country” by making significant positive contributions to our community.
In doing so they carry the torch handed to us by past generations as embedded in our constitution to serve for a more peaceful, just, and sustainable Sint Maarten. It is with the knowledge of and appreciation for their valued service to our country that we can look to the future with hope for the further growth of our country.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is in that light that we shall in a few moments standstill to highlight the contributions and achievements of a few of our brothers and sisters who have been singled out to receive Royal Decorations. A total of seven (7) persons - Mr. Imran Mc Sood Amjad, Ms. Engelina Dorothea Hoogenboezem-Brinker, Mr. Urmain Alphonse Dormoy, Mrs. Connie Phyllis Gumbs, Mrs. Neville Alvinton Lake, Mr. Claudwick Charles Peterson and Mr. Rolande Silvester Tobias. They have each been decorated as member in the Order of Oranje Nassau - will be awarded a Royal Decoration for their prolonged outstanding service to the community. They will be presented to you in a short while by underlining the mark they have made in Sint Maarten in a variety of areas ranging from: the promotion and development of sports and culture, the advancement of social justice, working with and counseling of our underprivileged youth, the stimulation and development of art and music, the empowerment of youth and faith based work, social activism, defending the cause of the elderly, monument preservation, and educational and community development. This overview is but a summary of the variety of fields in which these individuals have rendered committed service to our country over a prolonged number of years. Committed involvement in service to our country and in particular in the care for and development of our youth is essential for the further building of St. Maarten. As I move to issue Royal Decorations to the seven (7) selected persons – two (2) of whom are not present this evening – I call on you to let their work be an inspiration for all of us to strive to comply with our declaration to render service for our Country. Service aimed at securing a more peaceful, just, and sustainable Sint Maarten.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is an honor and special distinction to be awarded a Royal Decoration and I thus hereby, in closing, take this opportunity to first, extend my appreciation to each of the 2015 recipients of Royal Decorations for their exemplary service to our community and second, to convey my congratulations to each of the honorees individually and to their family and friends.
Thus as we continue the tradition of celebrating King’s Day with an emphasis on service to country, I wish you an enjoyable evening.
God Bless you, and
God Bless Sint Maarten