Minister Jacobs calls for more compassion, equity

PHILIPSBURG–In her New Year’s address released on Thursday evening, Minister of Education, Culture and Youth and Sports Silveria Jacobs reflected on this past year and called on the population to show more respect, impulse control, compassion and fairness in their dealings with fellow citizens.

“This year 2016 was indeed a challenging time for many of us. Some may have lost loved ones, a job, or plain-out lost all hope. As a people of faith, however, I pray that we see this new year as one filled with new opportunities, new possibilities and one that we should welcome with open arms, an open mind and most importantly an open heart,” Jacobs said.

“We can take or leave what 2016 brought to us in growth and challenges and use them to build whom we want to be and what we want to achieve in 2017, both individually as well as collectively.

“God gives the toughest battles to his strongest soldiers. As such, give thanks for the past, challenges and all, as well as for the future of opportunities exemplified by a new year which will ring in on the Sunday, January 1, 2017.

“We, as people and a budding country are extremely blessed and grateful; so, let 2017 be the year of hope, unity, love and making the most of opportunities to improve the quality of life for all who call St. Maarten home. Let us all strive to make St. Maarten a better place in all we do, write, say, share, love, guide and help. Let us build each other up, let us together find solutions to the challenges we face, as we are stronger together.”

An acronym that came to Jacob’s mind in her address was RICE – respect, impulse control, compassion and equity – which she shared with schools around St. Maarten about a year ago. Some graduates recently reminded her of this and claimed it had helped them to focus their actions.

“We, as adults, should employ these simple rules of life: show respect for all, control our impulses – doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason, having compassion for others and treating others with equity – fairness; simple rules that can change a society,” Jacobs added.

“I wish our young people much success as they contribute from the heart to our society. Your input is invaluable, our country needs you at your best.

“To our honourable senior citizens of St. Maarten, whom we owe much, I express my gratitude for morals, values and hard work ethic, which you have instilled in us and all future generations. You also have much to be honoured and revered for and we are proud that you remain open to be life-long learners and true examples to us all.

“To all people of St. Maarten: May the coming year be filled with joy, great health, love, dreams and actions to realise these dreams. May you dream and live without reservation, as only you can do so.

“I wish to all a blessed, healthy and prosperous New Year 2017.”

Source: The Daily Herald