residents of St. Maarten here on the island or abroad, it is with mixed
emotions I address you as 2017 comes to its end and 2018 approaches.
is customary that at the end of the year we reflect on the occurrences of the
past year and make resolutions for the coming year. Our resolutions are made
with optimistic expectations.
we all look back at 2017 from January to December, I am sure that most of you,
if not all of you, share the mixed feelings I have about the year.
was no normal year for St. Maarten. We were faced with some unusual challenges,
which many of us have not yet fully recovered from. We suffered material
damage. Homes, vehicles, jobs and even lives were lost. There was political
upheaval, social unrest, looting, and the list of negativity can go on and on.
normal circumstances if asked to recall the most memorable day of the year, you
hear responses like: my birthday, the day I started my new job, Christmas, the
birth of my child. Those types of responses. All positive.
am sure that if that same question is asked about 2017 the unanimous response
will be: “Hurricane Irma on September 6th.” Of the 365 days in 2017,
this date will undoubtedly be the most memorable for all of us. Yes, that was
the day that changed St. Maarten people’s lives, their hopes and their dreams.
That day will long be remembered by all of us. In fact, I dare say that St.
Maarten’s history will be written as “the days before Hurricane Irma and the days after Hurricane Irma.”
said that, I take this opportunity to ask every one of you not to look back at
2017 and see only negative. Let’s not linger on the obstacles and the downside
of life. Let us start by being thankful for life. Many good things have
transpired in our personal lives and throughout the community during the year.
Let us hold on to the positive and use that as our tool to move forward into
2018. We should however remain critical and demand transparency and good
challenges we will be faced with in 2018 are many. Our economy will shrink.
Many will be jobless. Things will not be easy and we should not expect such to
be the case. Many social issues such as crime, mental health and domestic
violence must also be addressed. All of this whilst we prepare for the next
hurricane season. That is our reality.
together we will overcome these challenges facing us. We are known to be
resilient people. In 2018 let us find the courage to face difficulties. Let us
seek strength to overcome our weaknesses. Let us show loyalty in friendship and
be faithful in executing our duties.
go into 2018 with optimism, hope and the desire for improvement. That is the
only way we will fully recover from the disaster we suffered in 2017. Our
recovery depends on each and every citizen.
we celebrate during the festive season, I again urge you to think of the less
fortunate. Those without a home, without a family or the means to celebrate.
Let us keep the celebrations safe. Have fun, but always remain in control of
your faculties. Enjoy with family and friends. Give thanks and praises.
wish all of you and your loved ones a prosperous and healthy 2018. Let us not
lose faith and give up on our dreams. Let us stand together and rebuild our
bless you all.
God bless our beloved St. Maarten