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Jorien Wuite is new Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.

jwuiteswearin15012017PHILIPSBURG:--- On Monday, January 15th, 2018, His Excellency the Governor, drs. Eugene B. Holiday, administered the oath of office to Ms. Jorien Wuite as Minister of Education, Culture, Youth & Sport (ECYS).

Wuite, a senior civil servant and former Secretary General of the Ministry of ECYS, is the daughter of two educators and granddaughter of well-known butcher and farmer “Alec the Butcher” from Middle Region. Wuite is also a candidate on the United Democrats slate, contesting the upcoming February 26th election.

At the constituting meeting held at the Government Administration Building, Governor Holiday congratulated the new Council of Ministers including Minister Wuite and wished them wisdom in the conduct of their responsibilities as they seek to meet their constitutional responsibility to the people is Sint Maarten.

A humble and thankful Wuite took the oath in front of family members and representatives of the new coalition and her party.

Press Release from the Ministry of ECYS

VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne kicks off 2018 with swearing-in of two attorneys at law.

vkvswearintwoattorneys15012018WILLEMSTAD, Curacao:--- With the swearing-in of Saul Castaño Ortiz and Joël Felida on Tuesday 9 January 2018, the Curaçao office of VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne has added two sworn attorneys to its team. Both junior associates have started working at the firm’s Corporate & Banking section.

Saul Castaño Ortiz was born and raised in Colombia. At twenty years old he moved to the Netherlands, where he obtained master's degrees in both financial law and business law at Leiden University. He also did internships at several large law firms, including Baker McKenzie Amsterdam and Pels Rijcken & Droogleever Fortuijn. His choice to start his career as an attorney at law in Curaçao is no coincidence: “Here I can use and further develop both my Latin American roots and the knowledge and experience that I have gained during my years of study in the Netherlands. I’m therefore very pleased that I have now been sworn in and that my career as an attorney at law has officially started.”

Joël Felida is yu di Korsou and after obtaining master's degrees in both civil law and financial law he returned to his roots to work at VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne as an attorney at law. Commenting on the swearing-in ceremony, Joël said: “Taking the oath was a special moment. This is what I have been working towards in recent years. From an early age I dreamed of becoming an attorney, preferably in Curaçao. I’m very happy that I have been able to make this dream come through so soon after completing my studies.”

VKV Press Release

Governor Holiday Speech During Swearing-in of Interim Ministers.

com15012018Chairperson of Parliament, Members of Parliament
Prime-Minister, Ministers,
Préfète déléguée of Saint Martin and St. Barths
President of the Collectivity of Saint Martin
Distinguished Guests, Good Morning,

On November 2, 2017, a shift in the majority in Parliament took place creating the basis for the transfer of governing responsibility to a new team of Ministers. Today, almost two and half months later we have before us a council of ministers supported by the new majority in Parliament.
During the formation period for this interim cabinet, I consulted with various persons and named Mr. Franklin Meyers and subsequently Mrs. Sarah Wescot-Williams as formateur to form an interim 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. The path to this transfer was not without challenges. To all who gave their input to the transition and formation process I hereby express my gratitude, also on behalf of the people of Sint Maarten. And in particular, I wish to thank Mr. Franklin Meyers for starting and Mrs. Sarah Wescot-Williams for completing the formation assignment as formateurs.
Having concluded the formation process it is important to emphasize that we are - as I stated in my New Years address - living at a pivotal moment in our nation’s history. Hurricane Irma and her aftermath have set our country back in no small way. And while we have made great strides to date we have quite some work to do. Quite some work to meet the urgent challenge of rebuilding Sint Maarten.

As we face this challenge together I advise that we hold on to the fundamental principles that underpins our constitution. Looking ahead it is therefore important that we are reminded of the principles outlined in the preamble of our constitution, which slightly reworded, states:
We, The people of Sint Maarten, are determined to work with each other; We believe in the principle of democracy, We believe in the rule of law; We believe in the entitlement of all individuals to the fundamental rights and freedoms; We wish to create a constitutional order based on an open and approachable government; And to record our objectives and convictions, We therefore agree that the provisions of the constitution shall have the force of law.
As such it provides an anchor and blueprint for individuals, households, corporations, public organizations, and government, to work together to rebuild Sint Maarten and improve the lives of our people.

Prime Minister, Ministers,
Today, two and a half months since the previous team of Ministers made their positions available you come before the people of Sint Maarten as a new team of ministers. A new team faced with the responsibility of, among others, furthering the recovery process in cooperation with the Netherlands, revisiting the budget for 2018, executing the agreement with the Netherlands on border control, implementing the law on the integrity chamber and executing the February 26th elections.
With respect to the furthering and planning of the recovery I encourage you to take steps to meet the urgent needs of our people in terms of, among others, employment and housing.

As you assume your mandate to govern this beautiful country, I trust that you, in keeping with your oath, will work to fortify our constitutional principles aimed at improving the well-being 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.
In that regard, there rests on you, individually as Ministers, and jointly as Council of Ministers a great responsibility. Your decisions 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 appointments as Prime-Minister, Ministers and deputy Minister Plenipotentiary.
Thank you, God bless you and May God Bless Sint Maarten and protect its coast.

Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin 1st official address to the people of Sint Maarten.

lmarlinromeo15012018PHILIPSBURG:--- Let me commence by sharing a few of the lyrics of a song called Not alone for mighty empire. Written by William P. Merrill, in 1911.

Not alone for mighty empire,
Stretching far over land and sea,
Not alone for bounteous harvests,
Lift we up our hearts to Thee.
Standing in the living present,
Memory and hope between,
Lord, we would with deep thanksgiving,
Praise Thee more for things unseen.

God of justice, save the people
From the clash of race and creed,
From the strife of class and faction,
Make our nation free indeed;
Keep her faith in simple manhood
Strong as when her life began,
Till it find its full fruition
In the brotherhood of man!

I want to give thanks for this opportunity presented to me to represent St Maarten as the second female Prime Minister of this young nation. I am truly humbled and honored by all of the congratulatory and outpouring of well wishes that I have received from both near and far. The journey is challenging, but GOD gives the toughest battles to his strongest soldiers.

Today I pledge to you that with all my strength, determination, and perseverance, together, we will ensure that this country will return to its prominent status within this region.

September 6, 2017, a day that will forever be etched in our minds, a day that changed this island that we love, Sint Maarten.

I stand here today, and can proudly state that in its darkest moment, this nation has shown an unyielding determination that revealed a perfect truth, that we, as a people are resilient and unconquerable.

A nation without fortitude and will to survive is one with hollow bearings, and will eventually confront the inevitable, and fall. Though we have shown our determination to survive after Hurricane Irma, it does not stop there.

This nation has to rebuild, but cannot be rebuilt overnight. Sint Maarten, we are essentially still in the recovery stage and in order to thrive and evolve into prosperity, a paradigm shift must occur. As a people, we must collectively change our outlook, as it is no longer business as usual. During this stage of recovery, it is important for us to unite, learn from past experience and restructure, rebuild, reform, simply because we are a progressive nation and can and will do better. I am cognizant to the reality that the road ahead will be long, there are tough times ahead. But with the focus on setting the right priorities for recovery, within due time we will achieve our goals.

This government is committed to the principles of integrity, transparency and good governance. We are committed to the recovery and reconstruction of Sint Maarten. This includes (1) establishing a clear and actionable economic plan developed in cooperation with the community entities such as the Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Unions, SHTA, SER, just to name of few, (2) managing the labor market and establishing skilled development programs to ensure maximum employment for the people of Sint Maarten, (3) Working together to ensure stability, tranquility and hope through fast track and sustainable economic development, (4) finalizing the plan for the reconstruction, (5) giving preference to the establishment of a safety plan to strengthen the overall safety of Sint Maarten, (6) implementing bilateral agreement between Sint Maarten and the Netherlands regarding border control, (7) implementing the Integrity Chamber Law in accordance with the agreement between Sint Maarten and the Netherlands, and (8) re-establishing cooperation with French Saint Martin.

In the upcoming press briefing each Minister will give an overview of their priorities per ministry.

Getting the aforementioned and how soon this government does such will be determined and influenced by many internal and external factors. Setbacks are inevitable, many will not agree with every decision or policy, we expect the criticism and welcome such, as this gives each ministry the opportunity to self-reflect. As Baltasar Gracian stated “ Self Reflection is the school of wisdom”.

As Prime Minister expect that I will always be honest with you about the realistic and factual challenges we face.

If the last Hurricane season taught us anything, it is that we cannot have a thriving nation without internal and external cooperation, without revisiting and reflecting on decisions taken, questioning how effective we were and how we can improve and better prepare for the next disaster.

It is of utmost importance that during these difficult times we communicate, prioritize and make good use of the scarce resources available. Let me re-emphasize on the scarce resources, as we cannot spend what we do not have, and we cannot squander the little we do have.

To the Council of Ministers, I sincerely pray that we learn from the words of Ezekiel 22:30, "I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one."
We, this council, this government are to be those who stand in the gap, who lifts up this island with all it challenges, faults, triumphs, before the throne of God, and fervently pray that He continues to work in our midst and guide us through this journey. May we keep this nation and each other in prayer without ceasing?

On behalf of the Romeo-Marlin Cabinet, I would like to thank you for your audience. We look forward to working for the people of Sint Maarten bearing in mind the quote of MLK “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

May GOD Bless each of you, May he bless us all and Bless this nation we love, Sint Maarten.

Farewell Address of Mrs. Henrietta Doran-York, Outgoing Minister Plenipotentiary of Sint Maarten in The Hague.

hdoranyork15012018Dear people of Sint Maarten,

There is a time for hellos, and a time for farewells.
As my tenure as Minister Plenipotentiary of Sint Maarten has come to its end, l say farewell with a heart full of gratitude.
Gratitude for the opportunity to have served my people and my island, and above all, gratitude to God for allowing me to take on this very challenging task, with dignity and integrity, with humility and determination, with faith and conviction, especially at a time as this.
When I was approached in 2015 to take on this role, l saw it as a great challenge that I could not resist.
A task that I knew I was well able to take on and execute to the fullest expectations of the people of Sint Maarten.
The title of “Minister Plenipotentiary” evokes a diplomatic language, with “representation” as its key meaning.
Being part of the Dutch Kingdom Council of Ministers, meant representing St. Maarten’s government and people during in these meetings.
During my tenure, l represented Sint Maarten throughout The Netherlands, particularly at events at which His Majesty, King Willem Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Maxima made an appearance.
I met often with Ambassadors from around the world, including those representing the Kingdom of the Netherlands in various countries and those representing their respective countries in The Netherlands.
I received other dignitaries, high-level civil servants, representatives of boards, Sint Maarteners and others, whether visiting from Sint Maarten or other countries at the Cabinet in The Hague.
Being Minister Plenipotentiary is therefore like being the Ambassador of St. Maarten in The Hague, with the St. Maarten House functioning more like the island’s Embassy, where students and others are received, informed and assisted as best as possible.
My tenure involved representing or standing in for the Prime Minister and other ministers of the government of St. Maarten, in The Netherlands and other countries.
In these times of such incredible disaster and destruction which we experienced in the form of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, that have brought about untold hardship and suffering, political instability and uncertainty about the future to all our people, some may think saying goodbye should be easy, since I would be walking away from all the so-called doom and gloom.
But let me quickly point out here that it is in times of crisis and adversity that the true nature of a people is revealed.
We St. Maarteners, have been wired to rise up, to show our true character as a resilient people.
Helen Keller once said “character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
It is of course not for me to even comment on how successful or not my tenure as Minister Plenipotentiary has been; time will tell.
For now, I leave with enough courage to say goodbye, with my head high and my chin up, confident that there will be enough good in this “goodbye” to take me to the next “hello”.
But, in all honesty, this is not really a goodbye; it is more a thank you to all those who have placed their confidence in me. I hope I have lived up to your expectations.
I am forever grateful to our former Prime Minister, the Honorable William Marlin for his trust, support and encouragement.
I wish him and his family God’s speed.
I wish to also thank my other colleagues of the Council of Ministers of Sint Maarten.
I saw first-hand your hard work and dedication to the people of Sint Maarten.
I truly appreciate how you as a team, showed dedication and commitment to the cause of St. Maarten long before the storms and up to this moment.
To my staff at the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary, l say thank you and I admonish you to continue your good work for Sint Maarten. Working with you was great.
To my colleagues from Council of Ministers in Netherlands, l wish to thank you for your well wishes.
During my tenure, there were 4 Ministers Plenipotentiary of Curacao and 3 Aruba representing in The Hague.
l wish to thank all them from the bottom of my heart. Although we were always outnumbered, we always stood by and supported each other.
To the people of Sint Maarten residing in The Netherlands; It was indeed my pleasure to also serve you.
Thanks for heeding the call to make more use of the services at the Cabinet of Sint Maarten a.k.a The Sint Maarten House.
I urge you to encourage others and let them also know what the Cabinet stands for, and they are welcome anytime to visit.
I cannot thank my family, friends and other well-wishers enough? Thank you for your encouragement, love and prayers. Thank you for being there for me 24/7. I hope I made you proud.
And of course, I cannot forget the media. I am grateful to all the members of the press for their cooperation and good work throughout my tenure.
To the people of St. Maarten, it has been for me a distinct honor and privilege to have served you to the best of my ability.
As Brooke Davis, would say: “I say goodbye to this chapter of my life and I look forward to what comes next.”
In closing, l want to also congratulate the incoming government of Sint Maarten, and wish them much strength and wisdom while executing the tasks before them, no matter how short or long their stay may be.
I wish each and every one of you a healthy 2018, as we all continue to play our role in rebuilding our country St. Maarten, to be a better and stronger place for all of us to live and thrive.
Together we will achieve this.
Long Live the people of Sint Maarten
I thank you.

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