With a new year, we are granted new opportunities and chances to make a difference, give our life a different course, or just continue to do as we have been doing. A new year for the people of St. Maarten, however, brings forth opportunities for us to rebuild better and stronger than we once were. After the passing of Hurricane Irma, the morale and energy of the people were shattered, however, soon after our people have shown that their strength and perseverance comes from within. The people of St. Maarten rose above expectations and proved their resilience to the world. Day by day, electricity and water are being restored house by house, businesses are reopening and new businesses are being established. The entrepreneurial spirit that had forged a strong part of our culture has re-emerged.
For 2018, I hope and pray that we can work for a better St. Maarten. It will not be a walk in the park, but we ought to remember the reason we are working hard and rebuilding our nation; to ensure our people are contributors and benefactors of our economic development and our children and youth are provided adequate access to resources and education, sports and the arts, which will help nurture their future as leaders of our country in all sectors. Our country deserves the best, and we must ensure that we are catering to produce the best in all aspects for the longevity of St. Maarten and her people. In 2018, be more thankful for life, as although one life lost was one too many, many more lives were spared; we must spend more quality time with our family. Strive to make this year the year you invest more in your children and their dreams and teach them the art of philanthropy. After the holiday season is over, let us continue to help those who are most in need, even after the struggles of Hurricane Irma are less evident.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth, and Sport, continues to pledge to work hard to ensure quality education is accessible to all students on St. Maarten. The struggles of funding will be a hurdle for years to come, however, we will make do with the resources provided.
May the coming year be filled with joy, great health, love, dreams, magic, and progression. May you dream and live, as only you can do so. On behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, and the Government of St. Maarten, I wish all the people of St. Maarten, a blessed, prosperous, and healthy New Year 2018.