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Minister Anna E. Richardson BPO-4 Class of 2019 Graduation Address

Psalm 5:11. But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exalt in you.

Good Morning Excellency, Governor Drs. Eugene Holiday, Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, Members of Parliament, the St. Maarten Police Force, the Police Academy of the Netherlands, invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, and a special and proud good morning and welcome to you 18 cadets.

It is an honor to be here with you today, to share in this special occasion signifying the completion of your training and official entry into the justice chain. I welcome the opportunity to briefly express my gratitude to you as we know this line of work is not an easy one and can be very dangerous. Nevertheless, you have so bravely taken up the mantle to protect and serve. Your service to your country is unmatched. A task that will require endurance, leadership, and sometimes most importantly compassion.

I hereby thank the Police Academy of the Netherlands, Instructors, KPSM Management, support staff and families of these cadets for standing by them and supporting them as they made the decision to undertake this profession of becoming a Law Enforcement officer.

What a proud day this must be for you. Today it is official… today you graduate prepared to accept the challenges in modern day policing. Each day, whether in uniform or not, you wear a badge of honor to serve the community of St. Maarten. That means, you will, today, take an oath that confirms that you will honor, respect, protect, serve and enforce the law impartially. You are a representation of the Korps Politie Sint Maarten which means you have been entrusted with an incredible amount of authority that comes with an incredible amount of responsibility. Wear this proudly and with dignity.

This graduation has been themed “reflecting in diversity” and indeed we can see this in our cadets. From gender to place of birth to the differences in reasons for joining the police force, but ultimately still being one family. Each of you will have different experiences, encounter different cases and experience different emotions. As you go into our community, you will witness different and at times horrific tragedies from vehicle accidents, suicides, homicides, robberies, matters of domestic violence and the list goes on. You will be the first responders on the scenes of these different serious matters of society.

There is no doubt, you have signed up for a stressful career and call of duty, and for that we as a community are forever grateful.

As Minister of Justice, I will continue to work on ensuring that every challenge met in this Ministry are dealt with in the best interest of all workers within the justice chain, fostering a better work

environment. As I have always stated; challenges are opportunities to learn and to grow. As you take on your demanding careers I encourage you to see challenges as such.

In closing, I wish to share two quotes that are diverse in themselves:

"I'm continually trying to make choices that put me out of my own comfort zone. As long as you're uncomfortable it means you're growing."

—Ashton Kutcher

"Don't be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered."

—Michelle Obama
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