Governor pays homage to people’s resilience | THE DAILY HERALD

HARBOUR VIEW–The resilience of the St. Maarten people in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and the year that has passed was recognised by Governor Eugene Holiday in his speech on Wednesday, the one-year mark after the worst Atlantic hurricane on record slammed into the country.

“We were knocked down flat on our back. But as a strong and resilient people we got back up, dusted ourselves off and went to work with the support of our kingdom partners,” Holiday said.

“We went to work. … Where people work, there will be differences, doubts and setbacks and, yes, we have had our fair share of such, but through it all our spirit of resilience always shined through. … As a result, public life was restored to make way to work on our socio-economic recovery.

“Let us remember and honour the many persons, the vast majority of our people, who represented our true St. Maarten spirit – persons who throughout our neighbourhoods picked themselves up to help kick-start the response and recovery of St. Maarten, and as we do so, let us not forget that our people did so under tense circumstances.”

The tense circumstances related to St. Maarten taking cover from the threat of Hurricane Jose, which thankfully did not make landfall, three days after the passing of Irma. And 13 days after Irma, on September 19, the country braced for the impact of Hurricane Maria.
The emotional, social and economic impact and effects of Hurricane Irma will be felt for a long time to come, said Holiday, who continues to be “deeply moved” by the damage to property and stories of heart-breaking loss of treasured possessions.

In the one year since, he has heard of more experiences and perilous situations in which persons found themselves during Irma. “I therefore stand with them in awe, thankful to God that they are with us today. … Listening to personal accounts of several persons and having seen the extent of the damage to our country’s physical infrastructure reminds me of the strength and resilience of our people,” he said.

“My heart reaches out to those families who lost loved ones and to those who struggle to deal with the difficult memories of their experiences.”

A lot has been done to date including the agreement between the local and Dutch governments on the recovery trust fund from the Netherlands. “At the same time, we must acknowledge that there is still much, so much more to be done.”

Holiday also recognised all those who have contributed and continue to do so to help in the recovery and rebuilding efforts. “I say thank you for your service to the people of St. Maarten,” he said.

“Going forward, we ought to remind each other that we will need everyone to join in to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure one day at a time. Today, tomorrow and each day thereafter we must, and I am convinced that we will, continue to take steps to complete the clean-up, reconstruct our airport terminal, rebuild our homes, reconstruct our hotels and restaurants, and ultimately secure the recovery of our economy.

“As we face this challenge we can do so with the knowledge and resolve that we have been down difficult paths before and we overcame. I therefore believe that we will continue to progress and rebound stronger together again; this through concerted national action in collaboration with Kingdom and international partners. And for that I am, as always, counting on my trust in the boundless strength and resilience of We the People of St. Maarten.”

Source: The Daily Herald