SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – On Wednesday, Minister of Justice Hon. Cornelius de Weever spoke at the graduation ceremony of the class of 2016. His speech reads as follows:
“As I stand before you this morning, I am very proud of the class of 2016. They are a true testament of commitment and I would like to call this graduating group the class of perseverance. You must be congratulated for not only passing the course, but for enduring all the challenges along the way, which also included Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Congratulations to the families, friends and colleagues who had to endure and encourage you to persevere.
“There is a poem titled “IF” written in 1985 by Rudyard Kipling and I will only quote the first paragraph:
“IF you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, but make allowance for their doubting too; IF you can wait and not be tired by waiting, or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, or being hated, don’t give way to hating; And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise.
“I believe this summarizes what it is to be a humble servant and answer your calling of becoming a police officer to serve your community- “Many are called but few are chosen” and you are amongst the few.
“As you are already aware, the duties of a police officer mainly focus on protecting people and property. They patrol the areas they are assigned, respond to calls, enforce laws, make arrests, issue citations, and occasionally testify in court cases. What you and the general public may not be aware of is the reality that there can be no tourism without our police officers, there can be no recovery without you and there can be no prosperity without our law enforcement. You provide the safety and security for us who live here and for the millions who visit as well.
“I would like to encourage you to read, read as much as possible, invest in yourself and don’t forget to write as well. Write those traffic tickets and PVs to ensure that our social order is maintained, and prevention will be achieved. Life learning will help you to continue to grow in your career.
“In order to achieve continued success, continue to exhibit good conduct, responsibility, team spirit, professionalism, reliability, commitment and leadership skills. These are all qualities of great leaders. Do not compromise your principles, do not compromise yourself, your class, your force or your island. Continue to make St. Maarten proud.
“I must repeat and acknowledge the work that all of you did during the entire carnival season. I am very proud of this force and will continue to invest and facilitate what is due to you.
“This graduating class today brings us a step closer to filling the gaps at the St. Maarten Police Force. With our continued efforts to offer BPO training locally and encouraging our young men and women to join the Police Force of St. Maarten, we will get nearer to our goal of having a full force. I would like to express my gratitude to the VKS and KPN for assisting us during your time of absence/schooling and we look forward for their continued support for the coming year as the following classes get ready for their upcoming graduation. Bridging the gap is equally as important as building a bridge and we need everyone to achieve this.
“Let this accomplishment be a stepping-stone for your future endeavors. St. Maarten needs you, and you are on the right bridge. With this said, I would like to congratulate the class of perseverance – the class of 2016.”