Francis promises selfless service in 1st address as Statia Governor | THE DAILY HERALD

Island Governor Alida Francis (left) took the oath of office on Wednesday in front of Acting Kingdom Representative Jan Helmond (right).


ST. EUSTATIUS–Alida Francis (58) was sworn in as Island Governor of St. Eustatius during a ceremony on Wednesday morning, becoming the first woman to take up the position.

    “When the history of my governorship is finally written, I have an obligation to ensure it records that my tenure was one of selfless service and sacrifice for Statia – for all of Statia,” said Francis, who took the oath of office in front of Acting Kingdom Representative Jan Helmond.

    “We may be of different political beliefs or religious faiths, but we share the same bonds of affection. We may live in different homes, but we are the same family. We may have different blood vessels, but a single heartbeat, for we are one Statia,” said Francis. “And it’s as one Statia that we shall march forward, climbing mountains we thought were unsurmountable, breaking barriers we thought were unbreakable, achieving goals we thought were impossible.”

    Born in St. Eustatius, Francis became the island’s Acting Government Commissioner in 2020, which was followed by her appointment as Government Commissioner in February 2021.

    She has also worked as senior communication advisor and spokesperson at Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland (RCN), and was Director of Tourism of the Island Territory of St. Eustatius.

    Francis studied journalism at the School of Journalism in Tilburg, the Netherlands.

End of intervention

    Francis’ appointment as Island Governor also marks the end of the Dutch government’s administrative intervention in St. Eustatius, which began in 2018.

    This means that St. Eustatius is now responsible for carrying out its own financial and administrative tasks. However, Acting Kingdom Representative Helmond will have a number of additional powers until September 1.

Congratulatory messages

    St. Maarten’s Council of Ministers offered congratulations to Francis in a message on Wednesday evening, calling it a “momentous occasion.”

    Caretaker Dutch State Secretary of Kingdom Relations and Digitisation Alexandra van Huffelen also congratulated Francis in a video message.

    “I am very proud that Statia-born Alida Francis is now serving as Island Governor. Alida Francis has shown, first as acting and later as Government Commissioner, to be a very driven person who has worked for the island and the Statia people with great passion,” said Van Huffelen. “This appointment marks the end of a period in which St. Eustatius has worked hard on improvements, as a result of which the governmental relations between The Hague and St. Eustatius could be restored.”

Order of the day

    Francis was sworn in at a ceremony at Ernest van Putten Youth Centre/Lions’ Den on Wednesday morning. Alongside members of St. Eustatius’ Executive and Island Councils, also present were representatives of the Dutch government and Saba’s Executive and Island Councils.

    Vehicles of the Caribbean Netherlands Police Force KPCN, the Caribbean Netherlands Fire Department BKCN, Caribbean Netherlands Customs and St. Eustatius’ Ambulance Department lined up in a row outside the youth centre and put on their sirens to greet the newly-installed island governor as she left the building. This display reportedly brought tears to Francis’ eyes.

    A thanksgiving service at Bethel Methodist Chapel followed the official ceremony and, later in the afternoon, rain showers did not stop the new island governor’s motorcade as it departed from F.D. Roosevelt Airport.

    A cultural celebration was supposed to be held at Fort Oranje in the evening, but this had to be relocated to Ernest van Putten Youth Centre/Lions Den because of the inclement weather.

Source: The Daily Herald