Prime Minister Silveria E. Jacobs Rotary District 7020 Conference 2022 Keynote Speech

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Mahatma Gandhi
A pleasant good afternoon to the District Governor Louis Wever and First Lady Amanda Wever, good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,

Visiting Rotarians from within District 7020, I take this time to humbly extend a sincere thank you to the entire Rotary District 7020 for your continued efforts. The Rotary continues to hold a significant presence worldwide, for more than 100 years, using its multi-disciplinary and diverse perspectives to solve some of our communities’ major challenges, thereby improving the daily lives of many. I am delighted and grateful that St. Maarten has been chosen as the host country for such a prestigious conference under the theme ‘Serve to Change Lives.’

I’d like to begin today’s conversation by reflecting on one word, “serve,”. The word ‘Serve’ can carry various meanings and be used in many different contexts. However, for you, as a service club, it refers to the action of performing duties or services for a person or an organization. Interact, Rotaract, and Rotary Clubs all over the globe, bring students, employees, businesses and professional leaders together to serve the people of their community. With the involvement of youth, the hunger for service and personal growth is assured. Serving your community changes the lives of those who are most impacted by these selfless actions. A life of service builds communities, it can end loneliness, create significant friendships, improve self-esteem, and can even aid one in attaining better employment opportunities. As such, when you serve, it positively changes your life as well as the lives of those being served.

The services of Rotary International have manifested themselves in a variety of ways, including offering leadership training to its members, and humanitarian assistance to the community. As a result, I, like the people of Sint Maarten and those around the globe, continue to be indebted to Rotary for its tremendous efforts. As stated in my welcoming remarks, The recent pandemic is a prime example of how the Rotary Club has risen to the occasion by mobilizing its members and partners and demonstrating a determination to serve. In doing so Rotarians have addressed the needs of our community and helped those most vulnerable affected by this crisis.’

Since taking up a Ministerial post for the first time in 2012, I have had a vision for St. Maarten; a country where everyone is given an equal and fair chance to succeed, achieve their goals and experience meaningful growth in their lives. This means that some people need more support than others. This support, we can only achieve by working together. This is the part where organizations like Rotary play a significant role. Without the restraint of politics and bureaucracy, you go where Government cannot reach and you get there faster. Each and every day you work to change lives. Your efforts are not going unnoticed, especially amongst those you directly impact.

Recognize today as international Nurses day. Remember the spirit of Florence Nightingale which was also world recognized as based on selfless service to others. In closing, I take this final moment and follow in the steps of Rotary International President-elect Shekhar Mehta urging members to become more involved in service projects in the best way that you can. As more and more countries around the world enter the endemic phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, I challenge you to go out and change a life. That is the positive impact you can have as a servant of your respective communities. As Ryunosuke Satoro once said, “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”

Rotary District 7020, on behalf of the People and Government of Sint Maarten, I commend YOU, as you continue to make your mark here on St. Maarten and globally. With your generosity and invaluable contributions in mind, the Government of St. Maarten will continue to strive to maintain an environment where organizations such as the Rotary Clubs can prosper in their pursuit to positively impact lives, as they continue to serve.

In the words of Paul Harris, “Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves.” Keep up the good work, God Bless Rotary District 7020.

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