St. Maarten had the prestigious honor to be chosen by Rotary District 7020 to host their 2022 Conference for the Rotarians of the District from May 9 until May 14. The Honorable Prime Minister Silveria E. Jacobs delivered the Official key note address of the opening ceremony held at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort in Maho on May 12, under the theme ‘Serve to Change Lives.’ In attendance were Acting Governor, His Excellency Reynold Groeneveld, Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary Richard Panneflek, Rotary International President Representative Robert Hall and spouse Charlene Hall, Rotary International Director for Zone 33 and 34 Peter Kyle and Margaret Kyle, and Rotary International District Elect Jeremy Hurst and Michelle Hurst. With about 400 attendees from around the District, Caribbean and USA in attendance, the week-long conference consisted of District Training and Assembly at the Sonesta Maho Beach and fun fellowship events that showcase the beauty, culture, and activities of St. Maarten.
The opening ceremony began with an introduction of the dignitaries in attendance and a flag procession by the St. Maarten Youth Brigade. After a rendition of the St. Maarten Song, the national anthems of the ten territories of which District 7020 consists, were played by local steel pan players, while the St. Maarten Community Choir entertained the gathering with a medley of cultural St. Martin songs. Welcome remarks were delivered by District Governor Louis Wever and Rotary International President Representative Robert Hall.
“The services of Rotary International have manifested themselves in a variety of ways, including offering leadership training to its members, and humanitarian assistance to the community. As a result, I, like the people of St. Maarten and those around the globe, continue to be indebted to Rotary for its tremendous efforts. The recent pandemic is a prime example of how the Rotary Club has risen to the occasion by mobilizing its members and partners and demonstrating a determination to serve. In doing so, Rotarians have addressed the needs of our community and helped those most vulnerable affected by this crisis,” expressed Prime Minister Jacobs as she delivered the official key note address.
During her address, Prime Minister Jacobs challenged the District attendees to go out and change a life. “As more and more countries around the world enter the endemic phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, I challenge you to go out and change a life. That is the positive impact you can have as a servant of your respective communities,” she stated. Thereafter entertainment was provided with an inspirational performance by local dancers Troy, Dashaun, Ray Angel and Naomi, and a performance by 2022 Calypso Monarch of St. Maarten King Beau Beau singing a tribute to St. Maarten.
“On behalf of the People and Government of Sint Maarten, I commend Rotary District 7020 as they continue to make their mark here on St. Maarten and globally. With their generosity and invaluable
contributions in mind, the Government of St. Maarten will continue to strive to maintain an environment where organizations such as the Rotary Clubs can prosper in their pursuit to positively impact lives, as they continue to serve,” concluded Prime Minister Jacobs.