Today we join the world in celebrating our children in recognition of International Children's Day observed annually on November 20.
Our children and youth are indeed our future, this is not just a catchphrase. We must therefore continue to do all that we can to invest in them, in their development, in the recognition and promotion of their dreams, nurturing their spirits and promoting healthy relations in order to build back a stronger St. Maarten. We must do this so that St. Maarten is a place they can remain connected to, as the place where they are afforded the opportunity to follow their dreams, grow in confidence and strength and motivate them to contribute positively to the further development of our community. The theme for International Children's Day 2021 is "A Better Future for Every Child."
Over the past 20 months, we have learned about the negative effects the COVID-19 pandemic has brought upon our children's education and social development thereby creating social disparities. However, it has taught us to become creative and motivated us to seek other ways to come together, whether virtually or by putting public health measures in place to safely come together physically. Investing in St. Maarten's future means investing in our children. As such, it remains crucial to bridge the gap of the effects COVID-19 has had on our children.
This is a good time for us to reflect on our priorities and the ways in which we are making positive contributions to our children's well-being. As a community, we do so by being model citizens, by motivating, inspiring and mentoring them, as well as providing support for the family structure. We all play a vital role in the development of our children and youth and ultimately how we safeguard our future.
Parents, teachers, community leaders, mentors and guardians, I challenge you to rise to the occasion as we continue to guide the current and next-generation and shape St. Maarten's legacy and thereby a sustainable future for us all.
As St. Maarten continues to strive to create an environment for educational and creative excellence, and a place of opportunity, I encourage the youth to never give up the pursuit of your goals. Our nation will continue to build on those dreams.
On behalf of the government of St.Maarten. Happy International Children's Day. God Bless the Children and youth of St. Maarten. God bless St. Maarten and all those who nurture and help them on their way.