Dear 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.