SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) – The following remarks were made by His Excellency Governor Eugene B. Holiday on the occasion of King’s Day Celebrations that took place on Friday evening at Simpson Bay Resort.
Esteemed Guests, Good evening,
Marie-Louise and I bid you welcome to this King’s Day celebration in honor of the birthday of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander. We are pleased to host you and to celebrate with you this evening.
As part of tonight’s King’s Day Celebration several persons will be honored with a royal decoration, in recognition of their prolonged voluntary service in our community. Considering the work of this year’s honorees, I have themed tonight’s celebration “My Brother’s Keeper”. I shall therefore in the next few moments share some thoughts with you on this theme: “My Brother’s Keeper”?
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Can you say: I am my brother’s keeper?
This question has been around forever. In Genesis, the first book of the Bible, Cain when asked by GOD about the whereabouts of his brother Abel, replied: “I do not know – Am I my brother’s keeper”? Cain’s answer means that he does not feel responsible for and that he does not care about his brother’s wellbeing. In our present-day mindset, Cain’s response would be: And how is that my problem?
From a broader context, it is an age-old question that goes to the heart of social relations in our society.
Maya Angelou, an American author and poetress, offers us some excellent guidance on how to create a mindset of responsibility and attitude of care for others through her words and I quote: “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud”. With those words, Maya Angelou is telling us that we need to be there for others when they need us.
Being My Brother’s Keeper is all about how you make others feel. It is about building each other up. It is about building our country up. It is about helping to make the world a better place.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We must do so with simple gestures, like a smile, a kind word, providing help with simple deeds and giving advice. On a larger scale, we must do so by taking greater responsibility for the protection of the weak amongst us:
When was the last time you tried to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud? It is a question we must ask ourselves each day and take positive action.
I have said it before, and I cannot repeat it enough. Imagine what our society would be like without the mindset of responsibility and care dispayed by so many professionals and volunteers, who, in so many different ways, work to improve the quality of our lives. Professionals and volunteers, such as: teachers, nurses, doctors, clergy, policemen, firefighters, social workers, military, volunteers, environmentalists and others. We see it every day and we saw it at work in the aftermath of hurricane Irma. Our sense of responsibility and care for other is the oil that fuels our efforts, our collective resilience and our country’s progress.
It is therefore with gratitude that we shall in a few moments stand still to highlight the contributions and achievements of three persons. These three persons have been singled out to receive Royal Decorations because they have been rainbows in many people’s clouds. The three (3) persons are – Mr. Rajesh R. Chintaman who has been decorated as Knight in the Order of Oranje Nassau as well as Mr. Merlin R. Aventurin and Mr. Leonel C. Gumbs who have each been decorated as member in the Order of Oranje Nassau. Their committed involvement in the care for the health, wellbeing and development of others exemplifies the saying “My Brother’s Keeper”. Their longstanding service and passionate involvement in our community through healthy lifestyle programs and awareness campaigns as well as emergency care, response and training are commendable. They have as a result helped to positively influence the lives of many of our brothers and sisters in need of guidance and medical care in our country. This is but a brief summary and does not do justice to the level of giving, community involvement and sense of responsibility and care demonstrated by these individuals. Their committed involvement in helping others in our country is, as such, an example for all of us to become more involved as our brothers’ keepers.
I therefore hereby extend my appreciation to each of the 2019 Royal Decorations honorees for their exemplary service in our community. It is an honor and special distinction to be awarded a Royal Decoration and I hereby, in advance, convey my congratulations to each of the 2019 recipients individually and to their family and friends.
Before concluding I will in view of this evening theme: “My Brother’s Keeper” leave you with a video with the title: “How we Treat People, Is who we are”
With that I hereby close and wish you an enjoyable evening.
Thank you, God Bless you, God Bless King Willem-Alexander, and May God Bless Sint Maarten and protect its coast.