SINT MAARTEN (PELICAN) – The following remarks were made by His Excellency Governor Eugene B. Holiday on the occasion of King’s Day Celebrations that took place in the Royal Ball Room at the Simpson Bay Resort & Marina, Pelican on Tuesday, April 26, 2022.
The Governor’s address is as follows:
And a very warm welcome to this King’s Day celebration in honor of the birthday of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander. My wife Marie-Louise and I are pleased to see you and celebrate with you this evening. We do so in the spirit of this evening’s theme: Creating Opportunities With Education.
As an economics student, not too long ago, I read Adam Smith’s book the Wealth of Nations in which he describes the acquired and useful abilities of individuals as a fundamental source of wealth and economic progress of a country. Simply put education is a key driver of national development and growth.
Experience has taught me that education is enriching, it creates opportunities. It helps us to better understand ourselves, our community, and our world. It is an investment in human capital, that is in acquiring knowledge, information, and skills for our people. The more we invest in our human capital the greater our chances of achieving our aspirations as individuals, as businesses, as government and as a country. These investments create broad individual and societal benefits and opportunities, such as, a reduction in poverty, an improvement of the health of our people, the stimulation of ideas and innovations, greater more effective participation in social and democratic processes, greater control of our destiny, and shared values.
It is therefore not surprising that studies show that human capital explains up to two thirds of income differences across the world. Education is as such the brain food needed to propel our nation forward.
Hence our continued pursuit of a more just and sustainable society, requires that we – you and I – must continue to educate ourselves and to promote and support the education of our children. If our community does not receive enough of the nourishment it needs, it will fail to flourish. A plant with insufficient water will wither and so will the spirit and mind of our nation without adequate education.
Imagine what our society would be like without the services of our well-trained professionals and volunteers – such as, teachers, nurses, doctors, clergy, policemen, social workers, engineers, environmentalists, and others – who, in so many different ways, work to improve the quality of our lives. The work of these persons anchored on their training, is the oil that fuels our country’s progress. It is with the knowledge of and appreciation for their valued service to our community that we can look to the future with hope for the further growth of our country. And at the same time use their example to call on others for the necessary expansion of our country’s circle of trained professionals. That is because to optimize our nation’s potential it is imperative that we grow our all-important human capital.
It is therefore with gratitude that we shall in a few moments stand still to highlight the importance of creating opportunities with education. Every year persons are recognized for their contributions and achievements during the King’s Day Celebration. They are selected for their prolonged outstanding service to our community.
This year, Dr. Marlon Halley has been decorated as Knight in the Order of Oranje Nassau for his contributions to catholic education on Sint Maarten. He has, through his involvement with the Catholic School Board, dedicated a significant part of his life to the advancement of the education of our children. During the past 30 years our island and with that our schools have faced several major challenges because of, among others, Hurricanes Luis (1995) and Irma (2017) and the ongoing COVID pandemic. Dr. Halley has played a significant role in navigating the catholic schools through these challenging periods. Through his dedicated and unselfish volunteer work he has also helped to upgrade and expand catholic education and to introduce the internationally Baccalaureate Diploma Program.
This year’s recipient has helped to positively influence the lives of many in our country over a prolonged number of years by “Creating Opportunities with Education”. Our 2022 honoree as such reminds all of us of the importance of education in creating opportunities towards the building of a stronger Sint Maarten community. And at the same time serves as a call to all of us to become more involved to make a difference in our community.
I therefore extend my appreciation to the 2022 Royal Decorations recipient for exemplary services to our community through education. It is an honor and special distinction to be awarded a Royal Decoration and I thus, in closing, convey my congratulations to the 2022 recipient and to all family and friends present.
Thus, as we continue the tradition of celebrating King’s Day, I wish you an enjoyable evening.
God Bless you, and
May God Bless Sint Maarten and protect its coast.
L to R: His Excellency Governor Holiday and Dr. Marlon Halley.