PHILIPSBURG–St. Maarten’s constitution is under fire, Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs declared as she alluded to the “tensions” that currently exist between St. Maarten and the Kingdom government, during her address on Monday to mark the tenth anniversary of country status for St. Maarten.
“Our constitution is under fire, the Kingdom statutes are in question, our cooperation within the Kingdom is rife with historical and post-colonial baggage, which causes us to question our current status within the Kingdom,” she told the populace.
“This calls for us to reassess our constitution, and ensure we have enacted all laws and regulations necessary. We must also assess the Kingdom Charter, as the democratic deficit within the Kingdom threatens our very existence. We must assess how we operate within the Kingdom. The debate of obligation versus responsibility, dictation versus dialogue, imposing of conditions versus true consensus. It is the greatest test we have had to endure – one that tests the will of the people to stand strong together, or be broken once more and left forever dependent.”
Even in this, she noted, the public can rest assured that despite the country’s limited capacity, government is working to find solutions even with limited resources and innovating to bring in the necessary funding that will serve St. Maarten best. “We do so while insisting on a relationship with our partners in the Kingdom of the Netherlands built on mutual respect and equity.”
She said the foundation on which the constitution has been founded, is irrevocable, except if the people of St. Maarten explicitly express differently. “This is the pride that we hold as a nation; the pride I described earlier, the right to determine one’s destiny. For this reason, I can stand proudly and say today that our future is truly in our own hands. Today’s virtual session restarts the education, the reflection, and the dialogue as to where next on this journey towards true self-determination as a people and as a nation. Tune in, chime in, be a part of the dialogue, be a part of the decision making,” she urged the populace.
“When I look ahead to the next ten years and beyond, I have confidence in a vision that encompasses the continuous growth and development of this country via the empowerment of our people for the achievement of the success they envision for themselves.”
Jacobs said St. Maarten’s journey over the last ten years since achieving country status has been a work in progress. “In principle, there is nothing wrong with being a work in progress as long as we continue to be progressive. As I state this, I acknowledge and repeat that there is much work to be done, St. Maarten. The most recent challenges we have faced, and continue to face in 2020, are a subtle reminder of that work that needs to be done.”
The past decade is not one that everyone is proud of in every moment, but from every experience, both positive and negative, comes lessons. “We must remember the goal, the lessons learned, and focus as we move forward on what we can and will achieve. We must ask ourselves, where have we been, where are we now, and where do we want to go?
“To move forward we must first forgive ourselves and our leaders for the mistakes of the past and map a new way forward despite the current and lingering challenges. Countries have turned things around in 10 years, and with the lessons learned, yes, St. Maarten can and will still become the vision of those who came before us because we still share that vision.”
She said government continues to work with former partners of the Netherland Antilles, Aruba, and Curaçao and with the Netherlands in an attempt to achieve the very best version of St. Maarten.
She concluded her address by emphasizing that there is more work to be done. “Do we have more responsibilities than prior to 10-10-10? Yes. Have we been financially independent during this time? Yes. Have we made mistakes along the way? Yes. However, we can only learn from our shortcomings and build a strong and progressive nation on those lessons. We are at a crossroads of our existence and I pray we choose wisely moving forward. Listen, read our constitution and subsequent laws, assess, reflect, learn, speak up, and help us forge the right path forward as we take the necessary steps for continued growth, self-determination, and success.”
She urged the populace to focus on the future and join in the process of building a strong and resilient nation for present and future generations.
Bron: Daily Herald