PHILIPSBURG:--- On Friday, September 30, His Excellency, Governor Eugene Holiday had the opportunity to meet with a varied group of young St. Maarten students at the Government Administration Building as part of his farewell activities. The event ‘A Conversation with the Governor’ was organized by the Youth Parliament of Sint Maarten under the leadership of Mrs. Connie Gumbs-Francis. Throughout His 12 years of Governorship, the Youth has been a focal point, which resulted in His signature program ‘The Youth Awards for Excellence’ underpinning the motto instilled from his youth ‘to strive to the best of oneself in all that one does.’
A total of 19 students from various schools and organizations attended and each was able to raise a variety of questions to the Governor. These questions ranged from how the Governor dealt with the changes in Parliament, the unemployment of youth, drugs and alcohol abuse by the youth, to the economic effects to the mangrove removal in the Fresh Pond. The youth did not hesitate in posing their direct and frank questions to His Excellency. They freely exchanged ideas and thoughts on Sint Maarten’s current educational system, career opportunities, and possible incentives to return home once concluding their studies abroad.
Throughout the conversation the Governor provided general recommendations and advice, whilst sharing his experience as a student, and professionally. Highlighting the importance of balanced decision making and ensuring that proper analysis and research is present, forming the basis for responding to the (policy) questions posed, and ultimately encouraging the students to continue to strive for excellence, ‘by being an example to their peers, no matter the circumstance.’
The Governor took his time to answer all the questions posed while sharing in some laughter in between. The event concluded with a letter of appreciation presented by His Excellency to each individual and a group photo. Governor was inspired by the youngsters and left the Government Administration Building with the insurance that Sint Maarten has a bright future ahead. Ms. Angél Flanders, President of the Youth Parliament final words were: “the Governor listened, spoke and connected with us. He will be missed but not forgotten”.