SINT MARTIN/SINT MAARTEN (MARIGOT HILL/ST. PETERS) – On March 23rd, dignitaries and invited guests from both sides of Sint Maarten gathered at the same location close to the French / Dutch border atop St Peters, to commemorate 371 years of the Treaty of Concordia.
Below is an excerpt of the address of Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin at the event.
“To the people of Sint Maarten, to our residents and to our guests, brothers and sisters, once again we have come together to commemorate the peaceful coexistence of two nations divided by an imaginary line established on this very same day 371 years ago.
The Treaty of Concordia marks the genesis of the coming together of two nations that has eventually lead to a united people living together sharing in one history, one culture, one island.
Today, as we have gathered here to pay homage to this historical day we must acknowledge the many leaders that have come before us and honor them for maintaining this long established peaceful coexistence. We are all well aware that in the blink of an eye, from one day to the next, things can change drastically.
With that been said, I take this opportunity to congratulate my counterparts on the northern side of the island, President Daniel Gibbes and Vice president Valerie Damaseau and my colleague, in in the South, Minister Wycliffe Smith for organizing this historic event.
Research indicates that the Treaty of Concordia is one of the oldest international treaty that is still being enforced today. The Treaty of Concordia is the foundation on which our island has been and continues to be developed. The significance of the treaty, which was signed 371 years ago, cannot be underscored.
It is because of this treaty…. The two government delegations from both sides of the island drove across the border without being stopped at a checkpoint.
Because of this treaty…. Residents can work and live on either side of the island without hassle.
Because of this treaty…. Containers filled with goods are imported on either side, then they are transported freely between both sides helping to stimulate the robust economy that this the envy of our neighboring islands.
Because of this treaty…. School going children can wake up on one side of the island and go to school on another.
Because of this treaty…. A typical guest to our island can land at Princess Juliana Airport check-in at a hotel in Oyster pond, spend the day on Orient beach, enjoy a top notch dinner at a restaurant in Grand Case and complete the evening enjoying the nightlife on the Simpson Bay boulevard.
Because of this treaty…. we share a common culture that is expressed on both sides of the island through local cuisine, music and dance.
It would be remiss of me to paint a picture that portrays everything between the both sides as perfect in paradise. If you should ask the question is there room for improvement? The answer is yes, and I can safely say that civil servants on both sides are hard at work, finding the common ground and solutions to establish mutually beneficial agreements for the residents and guests on both sides of our Sweet Sint Maarten.
As outlined in the Governing Program – “Building a sustainable Sint Maarten” of this current administration, priority has been given to strengthen cooperation with French Saint Martin.
Quadripartite meetings (Q–Meeting) between government officials from the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Republic of France, Government of Sint Maarten and the Collectivité of Saint Martin continue to take place addressing many of the issues at the highest levels.
Efforts and work are ongoing in such areas as Firefighting and Disaster management.
As it relates to the European Development Funds, joint projects are continuing such as the Cleanup of the Simpson bay lagoon.
Initiatives for joint tourism promotion, marketing and product development of our island are visible and are expected to yield tangible results in the near future.
Another visible example of meaningful cooperation built on the foundation of the Treaty of Concordia is in the area of Justice and public order. Recently the community was able to witness joint controls by the both law enforcement agencies.
Cooperation also exists in the area of Public Health, Public Transportation, Maritime and Aviation.
In conclusion, I would like to remind everyone here gathered that the peaceful coexistence that we enjoy today can only continue through meaningful cooperation and a willingness to solve issues in a mutually beneficial manner. As leaders and administrators, it is our duty to maintain the spirit of the Treaty of Concordia and uphold its principles for another 371 years and beyond for the benefit of the generations to follow.”
Source: Souliga Newsday https://www.soualiganewsday.com/index.php/local/soualiga-newsday-top-stories/item/24701-prime-minister-romeo-marlin-address-on-the-commemoration-of-371-years-of-the-treaty-of-concordia.html