On February 26, 2018, the people of Sint Maarten, following the devastation of Hurricane Irma, amidst personal challenges, in the face of much political discord and debate, but grounded in our boundless resilience, went to the polls and exercised our basic constitutional right to vote. As a result the fifteen (15) of you have, individually and collectively, been entrusted with the responsibility to represent the people of Sint Maarten during the next four years, not one, not two, not three but four years. This means that you have been elected by the people of Sint Maarten to provide the support needed to form a government, to keep a check on that government and to put laws in place, all in the interest of the people.
You will as a result in a few minutes take the oath required for holding the office as a representative of the people of Sint Maarten. But before administering the oath I will like to leave you with some food for thought on the revival ideals of our society. Upon taking office you will, in the context of our post-hurricane Irma reality, do so in one of the most challenging periods in our nation’s history. You will face major choices and decisions that will affect the lives of our people. Your actions and decisions, individually and collectively, will be critical to the rebuilding and recovery of Sint Maarten; or in the spirit of Easter critical to the revival of Sint Maarten. That is the revival of our economy, the revival of employment for our people, the renewal of our waste management, the strengthening of our hurricane resilience and the revival of our public finances. It must therefore be obvious that, to help bring about the required revival, your tenure calls for a new focus and approach going forward.
In the Easter spirit you are, individually and collectively, called upon to rise above the narrow confines of individual interests to focus on and address the broader and higher revival ideals of our society. You are called upon to unite and provide the basis for stable and good governance. You are called upon to champion and defend a national rebuilding and recovery program that will meet and protect the social, economic and financial needs and interests of our people.
It is clear that the trust placed in you, individually and collectively, comes with high expectations. In recognition thereof article 56 of our constitution requires members of Parliament to take a solemn oath or make a solemn promise prior to accepting their function as representatives of the people of Sint Maarten. Taking an oath or making a pledge as a representative of the people is therefore a serious legal, but also personal and public matter.
It is against that background that we are gathered at this location to administer the oath of office for you to serve in the fourth term of Parliament. As such I will like to call your attention to the four aspects as stipulated in the oath, which you are about to take.
Accepting the function of parliamentarian through the taking of the oath is:
· First, your solemn expression of your commitment to perform your function independently and with integrity, that is that you have not accepted anything from or given anything to anyone in connection with your election as a Member of Parliament;
· Second, taking the oath is your pledge of allegiance to the King and the Kingdom Charter;
· Third, taking the oath is your sincere pledge or promise to always help to uphold the Constitution of Sint Maarten; and
· And finally, by taking the oath you unconditionally swear to always dedicate yourself to foster the wellbeing of the people of Sint Maarten.
In taking this solemn oath of office this morning you agree to accept and commit to carry out the serious responsibilities entrusted to you by the people and for the people. And that you will do so with integrity anchored on our constitutional principles.
Thus, as you take up your office, I trust that you will use the oath as a guide in the performance of your function to promote stable and effective governance towards the revival of our nation.
With that trust, I hereby wish you strength and wisdom in the fulfillment of you responsibilities along with God’s blessings for and protection of you and our beloved Sint Maarten.
It is with these best wishes for you and our Country that I hereby invite you to take your oath.