Vice-Chairman of Parliament, Members of Parliament
Prefette of Saint Martin and St. Barths
Vice-President of the Collectivity of Saint Martin
Vice-president of the Joint Court of Justice
On September 26th, 2016, the people of Sint Maarten went to the polls and elected a new group of parliamentarians. In doing so charging them with the responsibility to form a majority in Parliament to support a new government. Today, almost three (3) months and two formation processes later we have before us a council of ministers supported by a 2/3rds majority in Parliament.
During the four (4) week formation period for this cabinet, I consulted with various persons and named Mr. William Marlin as formateur to form a new government. You have, as a result, just witnessed the transfer of executive responsibility for the governance of our country to a new team of Ministers. To all who gave their input to the transition and formation process I hereby, also on behalf of the people of Sint Maarten, express my gratitude. And in particular I wish to thank Mr. William Marlin for his work and cooperation as formateur.
Looking ahead, it is important that we stand still and recognize that every transfer of governing responsibility comes with a new mandate to address challenges and develop opportunities to meet the needs of the people. It is in this regard essential that we respond effectively to the interdependent internal and external environment in which we operate as a country. It is an environment which, given the challenges of the 21st century, calls for the implementation of a new, upgraded governing operating system – GOS 21.0.
Thus as you move to implement your governing program, Stability for Prosperity, it is important to take stock of the developments of the past six years and act without delay to implement the required upgrade for improved performance. That action must be anchored in governance, stability and policy development and enforcement. While time does not permit me to elaborate it is evident from our low economic growth that we, together, as a country, face the urgent need to make a number of strategic choices. These are choices to upgrade our strategic infrastructure and policies, with a focus on the following areas:
1. First, the modernization of our national human capital management system, by actively developing available potential to match our needs and by creating an environment
to encourage the repatriation of our students and skilled professionals;
2. Second, the enhancement of our information and communication technology infrastructure, by facilitating investments in our fiber network to improve the delivery of faster and more effective ICT services;
3. Third, the investment in sustainable energy supply and the protection of our natural environment, by delivering renewable and lower cost energy as well as sustainable waste management solutions;
4. Fourth, the upgrade of our land, air and sea transportation network, by addressing road congestion and securing an efficient flow of people, goods and services;
5. And fifth, the strengthening of external strategic relations by investing in strategic partnerships, with Saint Martin, within the Kingdom, within the Caribbean and with the United States.
These are fundamental choices for our future socio-economic development, because they provide the soft- and hardware which are critical across all sectors of our community, ranging from tourism to health care services, from trade to financial services and from public expenditure to taxation.
Prime Minister, Ministers,
Today’s transfer of executive responsibility comes at a time of renewal, days before Christmas, and days before we herald in the New Year. It is in that spirit of renewal that I trust that you will use your new mandate to herald in a new upgraded governing operating system 21.0. One that offers our island the socio-economic operating platform necessary to drive our vision of an always progressing Sint Maarten. That is, a prosperous Sint Maarten of economic opportunities, social justice, legal protection and safety. A country that is environmentally sustainable, technologically prepared, externally engaged and financially viable. A vision which we can only achieve together.
As you assume your mandate to govern this beautiful country, I trust that you, in keeping with your oath, will make the required strategic choices, aimed at improving the wellbeing of our people.
Accepting the position of Minister through the taking of the oath today, is a solemn expression of your commitment to perform your duties with integrity. It is your pledge of allegiance to the King and the Kingdom Charter, it is your individual declaration to always uphold the Constitution of Sint Maarten and it is your solemn affirmation to always dedicate yourself to foster the wellbeing of the People of Sint Maarten. Through your oath, you have accepted the obligation to serve all the people of Sint Maarten. The fulfillment of this obligation must be based on the principles of democracy, on the rule of law, on respect for the
fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons and anchored in our determination as a people to work together. As such I trust that you, going forward, will engage all stakeholders – opposition, civil society, businesses, trade unions and the media, – in a dialogue and partnership on the challenges and opportunities of new sources of growth.
In that regard, there rests on you, individually as Ministers, and jointly as Council of Ministers a great responsibility. Your decisions, your choices, will have lasting influences on the lives of the people of Sint Maarten. Thus, as you deliberate on taking action on the matters before you during your governing period, I wish you wisdom, individually and jointly, in the conduct of your responsibilities as you seek to meet your constitutional responsibility to the people of Sint Maarten.
With that in mind, I hereby congratulate the people of Sint Maarten with the installation of this new government and similarly congratulate each of you and your families with your appointment as Prime-Minister, Minister and Minister Plenipotentiary.
Thank you, God bless you and May God Bless Sint Maarten and protect its coast.