Published On: Mon, Nov 11th, 2019

Perfecting Our St. Martin Story Together

Governor Eugene Holiday - Story

~ “Perfecting Our St. Martin Story Together” 60th Anniversary St. Martin’s Day Address by His Excellency Drs. Eugene B. Holiday, Governor of Sint Maarten ~

My fellow St. Martiners,

It is my pleasure, also on behalf of Marie Louise, to wish you a Happy 60th St. Martin’s Day celebration. (Note St. Martin refers to the entire island, Sint Maarten and Saint Martin).

Today November 11th, 2019, we gather to mark the 60th anniversary of the official joint celebration of St. Martin’s Day. Today we come together as brothers and sisters from North and South to celebrate our oneness based on the founding idea of Dr. Hubert Petit and Claude Wathey. Today is thus our celebration of “Our St. Martin Story”. Every year we start our celebration with the pleasant greeting: Happy St. Martin’s Day. It is a profound greeting. A greeting that reflects the story of the St. Martin spirit. A spirit of community, resilience, and unity. It is the source of our kindness, solidarity, and determination towards our common happiness and wellbeing. These are the values that have shaped our St. Martin way for generations.

This morning, amid our St. Martin’s Day greeting, we began our observance of our 60th St. Martin’s Day anniversary with a joint Church service at the Philipsburg Methodist Church in appreciation of God’s blessings and to seek his continued grace and guidance for us as a people and for our island. I was pleased to inspect our uniformed men and women in appreciation of their selfless service towards the maintenance of our cherished law and order. We laid wreaths at the Cole Bay/Bellevue border monument in recognition of our shared heritage and as inspiration for our common future. And we prepared a time capsule in acknowledgment of our obligations to future generations.

My fellow St. Martiners,

I highlighted our actions as a reminder of the significance of our St. Martin’s Day celebration as a shared moment of celebration and reflection. A shared moment in our continued obligation to perfect Our St. Martin Story together. It is my hope that you are enjoying our St. Martin’s Day Celebrations with family and friends in good St. Martin tradition and that you will take time to reflect on your contributions to Our St. Martin Story.

Our St. Martin Story is a story of overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges. Over the years our island transitioned from Soualiga to St. Martin and from salt and agriculture to tourism. As a people,
 we triumphed over slavery with emancipation in the mid-1800s 2
 we built a buoyant tourism economy in the latter half of the twentieth century;
 we expanded the areas of Philipsburg 3, Marigot 4 and Simpson Bay 5 by reclaiming land in the Great Salt Pond, the Marigot Bay, and the Simpson Bay Lagoon;
 we recovered from the devastation of 7 hurricanes in the second half of the 1990s; and
 we achieved significant constitutional reforms in the first decade of this century 6.

My fellow St. Martiners,

As we review these major accomplishments in our history the question that arises is what will the next major chapter in our story be? As we observe this 60th St. Martin’s Day anniversary we are, in view of the current challenges of climate change, socio-economic recovery needs and stable governance, reminded that the accomplishments I mentioned only give a snapshot of our evolving St. Martin Story. We are reminded that these accomplishments did not just happen. Our story, as passed down orally from generation to generation, as expressed in our Ponum dance, and as recorded in our Calypso songs, our paintings, our poetry, and our history books, is the legacy of the hard work, sweat, and sacrifices of our parents, grandparents and great grandparents.

The task before us today, therefore, is to build on their legacy. It is to write a new chapter in pursuit of perfecting Our St. Martin Story. This in the face of again seemingly insurmountable challenges.

My fellow St. Martiners,

The writing of our new chapter must start with our recommitment to stable governance. This to provide the foundation and leadership to fuel needed investments: in excellence in education, in excellence in health care, in the protection of our land and heritage, in sustainable waste management solutions, in Climate Change Resilience and in the revitalization of our economy. Successive generations of St. Martiners have fulfilled their tasks guided by a spirit of community, resilience, and unity in purpose for St. Martin. Anchored in my faith in our people I, therefore, on this 60th Anniversary of the celebration of Our St. Martin Story, trust that we will embrace these core St. Martin qualities and write a new chapter towards perfecting Our St. Martin Story.

To close, we are in this regard encouraged by the following messages of our calypsonians about Our St. Martin Story. While we may be “brokes again” as rendered by King Beau Beau, we have a shared obligation to invest in building “a model nation” as recommended by The Mighty Brat, an investment which is necessary to maintain our legacy that “St. Martin is still the best” as sung and affirmed by The Mighty Dow. My Fellow St. Martiners, carrying on our legacy is a task, an obligation which we can only fulfill together.

May this 60th St. Martin’s Day celebration, therefore, serve as an inspiration for our continued perfecting of Our St. Martin Story.

HAPPY ST. MARTIN’S DAY.

Thank you, God Bless You,
And May God Bless St. Martin and Protect its Coast.