SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Saturday June 30th, the Voluntary Korps of Sint Maarten (VKS) celebrated their 21st Anniversary with a promotion & award ceremony for its soldiers in front of the Government Administration Building.
The celebration continued with a march through the streets of Philipsburg to the Catholic Church on Frontstreet, and then the celebration concluded with a reception at the Hope Estate Recreation Center.
The responsibility for matters concerning the VKS falls under the Ministry of General Affairs as such, Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin played an active role in the celebration ceremony, by assisting with the pinning of the VKS soldiers with their promotions along with Commander of the VKS Antonio Rogers.
During the ceremony, Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin also had the opportunity to address all persons that were in attendance including, Acting Governor Reynold Groeneveldt, President of Parliament Sarah Wescot Williams, Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever, Minister of Finance Perry Geerlings, Members of Parliament, Chairman of the VKS Board Franklyn Richards and family and friends of the VKS.
Here are the remarks of Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin, “Today marks the 21st Anniversary of the Voluntary Korps of Sint Maarten. On this auspicious celebration, allow me as Prime Minister to congratulate the organization on attaining this milestone and more importantly to the members of the VKS who have stood with the organization from the onset.
The Voluntary Korps of Sint Maarten continues to play a critical role in our community:
- Through: empowering and inspiring our men and women to develop themselves individually and professionally;
- Through: providing support to Government security services such the Police and the House of Detention
- Through: assisting NGO’s such as the Red Cross, Youth Brigade, and many other NGO’s during essential and sometimes daunting times.
- Through: playing an active role before, during and after any disaster response or emergency.
Today, it is only fitting to commend and congratulate those members who have been promoted to a higher rank; as well to those who have been recognized for their service to this organization over the years.
I am sure the journey was extremely tough, as I have personally seen some of you during your training period jogging or marching on our streets. I know today must be - truly a rewarding experience.
Allow me to take this opportunity to analyze the V in VKS. The V in VKS can mean so much, firstly let me say what it really means “Voluntary”, which comes from the word Volunteer, which each of you that are members of the VKS have signed up to do for your community.
- Let us define Volunteer - A person that actively takes on a task, responsibility, or project on his or her own accord without needing to be assigned, ordered, or told to do so. Often a volunteer is not paid for the work that they provide.
To all VKS members as we know in 2018, - you are part of a special breed of individuals that are committed to seeing their communities flourish and are willing sacrifice their time and service to a noble cause.
- Let us look at V again, V for Valiant - possessing or acting with bravery or boldness.
To the new soldiers I want to commend you for sticking with it even though you had enough reasons to quit. I know you must be beaming inside with pride as you have officially joined the ranks of the VKS today.
- Finally, for the last V let me define Victorious – achievement, mastery or success in a struggle or endeavor against odds or difficulties.
This definition applies to those soldiers and officers that have been promoted for their exemplary performance and achievement and most importantly, sticking with this organization through a tough year 2017 with the passing of the hurricanes.
Thus, on behalf of the Government of Sint Maarten, I want to thank you sincerely and I encourage you to remain steadfast, as we are currently in the early stages of yet another hurricane season.
To the Board and Commander of the VKS, continue the good work that you are doing to develop this organization to its full potential and rest assured that you can count on my support going forward.
In closing, I want to share these famous words with you by President John F. Kennedy, who during his inaugural address on January 20, 1961 said:
“ask not what your country can do for you
but - ask what you can do for your country”.
I therefore commend each of you for “what you do for your country” through giving your service in a noble and selfless way.
GOD BLESS - I thank you.”