Governor Eugene Holiday
PHILIPSBURG--The further nation building of St. Maarten calls for investment in “our self,” in stable and good government, in smart and sustainable national infrastructure and in the education of the people, says Governor Eugene Holiday in his Constitution Day message.
On Monday, the country celebrated the 11th anniversary of Constitution Day, in observance of the birth of St Maarten as a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Holiday said as the current generation of nation builders, St. Maarten must move forward by strengthening national unity by placing more importance on national symbols, such as the flag and anthem.
“The very first article of our constitution mandates that we establish our flag, our court of arms and our national anthem. As I speak only the first two items of this mandate have been fulfilled. Witnessing the hoisting of the St. Maarten flag or singing the St. Maarten Song means something; they generate a unique sense of pride and unity. We should therefore move to complete the fulfilment of this constitutional mandate,” Holiday said.
This, he added, should be supplemented by fostering wider participation in the celebration of national holidays, such as St. Maarten Day; placing greater focus on our national sports and sportspersons; and preserving and advancing our cultural and natural heritage. These are all vehicles of national unity and nation building.
“Anchored on our can-do and friendly character, we must in accordance with the provisions of our constitution remain committed to creating opportunities and providing security for our people. This means that we must continue to modernise our national economic infrastructure, via investments in a renewable energy system, in a fibre-based telecom network and in effective air, sea and land transportation networks. It also means that we must continue to upgrade our national social infrastructure and systems, such as our health care system, our housing, and our social safety net system.”
He said these investments must be prioritized and phased given the country’s financial and human resources constraints. “To be successful nation building must be carried by the population, through active political, economic, and social participation and in particular by our youth. This at the basis calls for investing in our education system, to prepare the next generation of nation builders based on our shared values and on a set of common standards of excellence. The constitution must, from a nation building perspective, therefore become a centrepiece in the national educational curricula.”
According to Holiday, the observance of Constitution Day as a national holiday should therefore remind everyone of the significance of the constitution as a cornerstone for nation building, as a guide for the development of the country. “A significance which follows from its foundational role as a legal, political, and social framework for the shaping of our country.”