PHILIPSBURG–“Imagine a revitalized Philipsburg, next to our vibrant Simpson Bay area, making a statement that tells residents and visitors how we wish to be seen,” Governor Eugene Holiday told guests at his New Year’s Reception held Friday on Captain Hodge Wharf.
“Our capital city displaying our governance, commercial and cultural aspirations. And anchored in its heart by a transparent, accessible, structured and representative north-south ‘Peoples Avenue.’ A Peoples Avenue connecting the Government House to the Court House via the Parliament House in its centre,” Holiday said, pointing out a vision of placing the needed Parliament Building when the old Government Administration Building stands at Clem Labega Square.
He also called on attendees and the country to “picture realizing the full potential of our nation by actively developing our available human resources to match our needs and by creating an environment to encourage the repatriation of our students and skilled professionals.”
The call was also to envision the country’s law enforcement equipped with a comprehensive camera surveillance network, monitored 24-7 to help detect and combat crime and enhance our safety and security.
“Imagine Cay Hill as the axis of a regional health care centre with a new modern hospital facility offering expanded health care services for residents as well as visitors from neighbouring islands,” he said of plans to construct a new hospital.
Imagine, the Governor said, the clean-up and removal of the dump from the salt pond replaced with sustainable waste management solutions and facilities located outside Philipsburg.
“Envision a national park and recreational programme securing open spaces as national squares in Philipsburg for national events, maintaining national trails and allocating and protecting terrestrial terrain for a national park for residents and visitors to enjoy,” he said.
“Imagine having a well maintained, decongested land transportation network to move people and goods efficiently alongside our world class air transportation and sea transportation facilities,” the governor said, adding, “Imagine transforming our information and communication technology infrastructure to an island-wide fibre network offering faster and more effective ICT services to keep our businesses competitive and to position us to compete better for the millennium generation of tourists.”
Attendees were asked to picture a national renewable energy park helping power in households, businesses and government at lower cost and to imagine a public finance system that encourages effective spending and ensures that everyone pay their fair share to help fund the nation’s mission.
The Governor called on individuals, media, trade unions, businesses and Government “to renew our commitment to an always progressing St. Maarten in pursuit of excellence in the quality of life for all. That is our commitment to a prosperous St. Maarten of economic opportunities, social justice, legal protection and safety.
A St. Maarten that is environmentally sustainable, technologically prepared, externally engaged and financially viable. This is a mission which we can only achieve together. – We owe this to our community and ourselves.”