VKS officers paraded in front of the Government Building on Saturday.
PHILIPSBURG--The 25th anniversary ceremony of the Volunteer Corps St. Maarten VKS was held on Saturday, July 2. Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs congratulated the VKS and at the same time welcomed Alain Richardson, who was sworn in as Commander.
The prime minister said it was a privilege to be part of this very special ceremony that acknowledges the great work of so many who protect and serve the St. Maarten community when called to do so, adding that all VKS members have a dedication to the safety and well-being of their communities.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’,” Prime Minister Jacobs stated in her speech. “People the world over engage in volunteerism for a great variety of reasons: to help eliminate poverty and to improve basic health and education, to tackle environmental issues, to reduce the risk of disasters or to combat social exclusion and violent conflict.”
In all of these fields, volunteerism makes a specific contribution by generating well-being for people and their communities, Jacobs said.
The VKS was formally established on June 28, 1997. The first group consisted of about 30 members and over the years, the number of volunteers increased to 100. While it continues to fluctuate, it is the aim to increase membership to approximately 75 members.
The VKS combines efforts with the Ministry of Justice to secure the Huis van Bewaring, Pointe Blanche Prison as well as support the Police Force based on necessity. The VKS trains with the locally established Marine Detachment and in the case of the appointment of the commander of the VKS, as prescribed by law, informs the brigadier general of the Marines stationed in Curaçao of its intention.
During a state of emergency or during large events, the assistance of the VKS officers is requested and much appreciated as national order must be upheld at all times, Prime Minister Jacobs said. “I am looking forward to improving the housing situation of the VKS, as I understand the current location creates many challenges. We recognise the financial constraints of all our institutions, and VKS is no exception. I remain open to discussing possibilities for improvement in this with a multi-annual approach.”
The prime minister commended the VKS on its achievements in the 25 years of its existence. “You have had and continue to have a profound impact on our community, and this service has in turn transformed the officers promoted throughout the ranks into the community leaders we’ve grown to respect.”
Governor of St. Maarten Eugene Holiday (front row, left), with next to him VKS Commander Alain Richardson and Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, surrounded by other guests.
Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs at the VKS ceremony.