Message of Curaçao Governor on King’s Day

Dear fellow countrymen,  More than a year ago, our beautiful island was closed in response to the then-flaring corona pandemic. That heralded a period of uncertain and fearful days, weeks, months. For a while, it seemed to go better. Now it seems like we are back to square one. Especially now, on King’s Day, I had hoped for more freedom of movement. Even here in this palace, where it is normally so lively around this time, the silence is palpable. But the coronavirus has not yet been completely tamed.  And yet, while the numbers are still troubling and health care workers are working overtime, it looks like things are slowly turning around. In the press conference on April 15, the Prime Minister aptly put it: the tipping point is approaching, the point at which the vaccine will gain the upper hand over the virus. Until then, it is a matter of persistence. It is not that we can neglect measures to prevent the virus from spreading further. It is still important to avoid contacts and to observe other applicable safety regulations. This goes against our wishes and feelings. We like to give each other “brasas” (hugs). But now that is not possible.  We cannot ignore it, the coronavirus is taking a heavy toll on our society. To everyone who has to miss a loved one due to corona. To people who are ill or who are struggling with the physical and mental aftermath of the virus. On the elderly and young people who have to deal with stress or loneliness because of social limitations. To all our business owners and to people who have lost or are at risk of losing their jobs. I am with you in my mind.  But I am convinced that the tradition we stand in will help us get through this difficult time. Each of us individually, but also our country as a whole. “Love your neighbor as yourself”, this means to me: look after one another, help one another, comfort one another. Exactly what we now see happening in our neighborhoods, where neighbors help each other to get groceries, or pay extra attention to those who can now receive fewer visitors. Support each other unconditionally regardless of religion, origin, or background. Many people from Curaçao recognize themselves in this and that makes me proud.  Within our kingdom, we also know cultural traditions that sometimes differ greatly from each other. Our collective history has seen bitter periods as well as times of hope and expectation. Despite the – sometimes large – differences in experience and perception that exist, we have been united in a kingdom for more than two centuries. That is significant. Without covering up differences of opinion, it is good to have an eye for what connects us. Also within the kingdom, we look after each other and we support each other. The examples of this have also been numerous in recent times; dozens of healthcare workers from the Netherlands who arrived at Hato at the beginning of this month to assist their colleagues in the CMC, food aid that the Dutch government makes available through the Red Cross, 30,000 extra vaccines that were delivered urgently by the Dutch government, the help that Defense offers in vaccinating our population and in maintaining public order and Aruba sheltering patients to relieve pressure on our ICU. And in turn, we were able to help our Kingdom members from Bonaire with care for their patients when needed.  This is an ideal day to appreciate and celebrate our unique connection with the 4 countries of the Kingdom and the 3 public entities. Together we are strong!  As between people, expressing gratitude between countries is not always easy. Expressing appreciation can make a person appear vulnerable because it recognizes that one is indebted to another. Yet it is important that we express gratitude not only as human beings to each other but also as countries within the Kingdom. Not as a sign of weakness but as a sign of strength. More than ever, these tokens of appreciation between people, but also between our fellow kingdoms, are of essential significance.  On March 19, many of you exercised your democratic right to vote. That was important. The next government will be given the heavy responsibility of, among other things, getting the economy back on track, which has been hit hard by the corona crisis. Recent times have shown that constructive cooperation within the Kingdom can contribute to this. Undersecretary Knops recently described cooperation within the Kingdom with the word “huntu”; only together can we progress within the Kingdom.  In line with the measures in force, it has been decided that this year, as in the previous year, no King’s Day reception, and for the time being no King’s Games and Ribbon Rain, can take place. The day before yesterday I also conveyed this message to the 32 citizens of Curaçao whom I was able to inform on behalf of His Majesty, King Willem-Alexander, that they will be decorated with a royal decoration for their many years of special service to the Curaçao community. I would like to congratulate the recipients once again on their honorable distinction. I look forward to meeting and embracing not only the recipients but all of you.  I would like to toast the health of our Majesty King Willem Alexander and the merits of our recipients. We celebrate King’s Day 2021 at home, from a distance, but together.  Long live the King.
Lucille George-WoutGovernor of Curaçao