Honored to Protect and Serve
I take this time to welcome one and all. A very blessed good morning and a special good morning to our newly-to-be sworn in officers. Congratulations in advance to all thirteen of you, your families, educators and those that will continue to guide you through this process.
It is an honor for me to stand here today, as leader of government, to honor the BPO-3 Class of 2018. In thinking of what I would say today, I came across the Law Enforcement International Oath of Honor. “On my honor, I will never betray my integrity, my character, or the public trust. I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions. I will always maintain the highest ethical standards and uphold the values of my community, and the agency I serve.”
As an educator at heart, and looking out and seeing while they were marching by, some of my former students, ready to be sworn in today, as officers, after having gone through the education and training necessary to do so, as well as practical work as police officers throughout these years, I am filled with much pride and gratitude.
Four basic rules I stressed as a teacher, as a student care coordinator, as a principal, and now as Prime Minister, and even when I was Minister of Education, Member of Parliament and regular citizen Silveria Jacobs. Four simple principles; Respect, Impulse Control, Compassion and Equity. Four rules, acronym RICE, very easy to remember. Every single list of rules you can find can fit in these four.
Respect starts with respect for self. Treat others as you would want to be treated. Impulse Control; we are all human, and yes, sometimes the first reaction is to react without thinking. Impulse Control is something that is learned. We learn how to stop and think, not only about what we will do, but the effect it will have on others. It is one of the hardest of the four rules. Compassion; I could remember having a hard time as a teacher teaching students what that meant, because as you know, we don’t love everyone as much as we preach it, but what this rule calls for, is to put yourself in the shoes of another person, to have compassion, feel something for that other human being that you have to deal with.
The last rule, Equity; equity is not equality, it is even bigger than that. It is ensuring that everyone gets what they deserve. If any of you are parents here, you would know. If you have children of various ages, each child requires something different. So, respect, impulse control, compassion and equity; four rules that can serve you throughout life and I am quite sure especially as a police officer. In simple terms, it simply means doing the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons and I would dare say, at all times, because eyes will always be on you.
I congratulate you on the serious steps that you have taken to honor, protect and serve the people of St. Maarten. By being here today, you have already shown that you have determination, that you had a dream, that you worked hard for it, and that you were dedicated to passing those exams and making
sure you made the grade. You had to have perseverance, but above all, I’m hoping that you also have positivity.
Government is super proud of you, our newest group of police officers, and look forward to the next group of cadets, and the next, and the next, as we must continue to feed this organization with new blood. Thank you for accepting the grave and serious responsibility to honor, protect and serve the people of St. Maarten. This honor comes with the highest level of responsibility and accountability and I pray each and every one of you as you wake up each morning start with the gratitude prayer, the serenity prayer and go about your jobs with that in mind.
Congratulations, wishing you much strength, success and honor as you serve. My humble advice to you is to remain humble, remember your journey and continue forever to be lifelong learners.
As adults, when we see that the greatest lessons that we can learn are from our elders who have passed on before us, and for the youth who are coming up behind us, we will stay current and we will continue to honor our heritage.
Listen with empathy, serve with honor, dignity and respect. The authority that you have does not have to mean aggression. We can catch more bees with honey than with vinegar. Let us work together, police, civil society, and of course, the people of St. Maarten to build trust in our police officers, to build trust in our government, to build trust in all those who have good thoughts, hearts, and deeds for St. Maarten. Together we can do it. Congratulations and continued success to all!