New Year’s 2010 Official Message By the Honorable Franklyn E. Richards, LL.M.Governor of SXM


My fellow St. Maarteners, On behalf of my cabinet, my family and myself, I take this opportunity to extend best wishes to all of you, for a peaceful and prosperous New Year 2010. 

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I pray that the Almighty God gives you wisdom and that you may achieve all your undertakings in 2010. The first decade of the 21st century comes to an end December 31.  The New Year is a time for resolutions, for pledging to make changes and develop opportunities as individuals, as families and as communities. 

The New Year offers a chance to start over, our spirits invigorated and our minds fresh.  The coming of a New Year is a time to take stock of our past, and at the same time we also plan for the future. We make New Year resolutions and follow our dreams.  We hope to live life to the fullest and spend as much time with the family. For the New Year 2010, let us as an island nation ensure that respect, tolerance and sharing values prevail throughout our communities. Let the New Year bring peace, health, happiness and prosperity to every household and that extra measure of harmony. 

Global Economic Challenges

The global economic crisis started back in 2008.  The world entered the most serious economic crisis in 60-years. Economies around the world slowed down.  For us, only in 2009 have we felt the impact of this global crisis. Europe, Japan and the United States have experienced a simultaneous recession.   
While there have been some recovery signs in the global economy for 2009, the expectations from economic forecasters is that this recovery should continue in 2010.    
Having a small, open economy, the fall in world demand has impacted the global tourism and travel industry with our tourism being down over 10 per cent as reflected so far for the early part of the 2009/10 tourism season. A turn-around is anticipated for the 2010/11 tourism season; However every effort must be made to provide the highest service during the current season.  The economic crisis is more difficult to overcome because it’s global, however it won’t last forever, but will take time to recover.   
My fellow St. Maarteners, we could not have survived the past year without the resolve, hard work and personal sacrifice of every household.  I would like to thank you for seeing through these difficult and challenging times. Even though we are not out of global crisis situation and more challenging times may lie ahead, every business, resident as well as government must do their part to mitigate situations and at the same time increase productivity, efficiency, so that as a nation we will emerge  stronger when this global crisis blows over. 

As a nation, we have been through times of adversity in the past such as hurricanes and recessions. This global recession has disrupted plans of development in 2009; even though it has offset visions of development for a short period of time, 2010, should be the year when the aforementioned development plans and visions of investors take flight and move to the stage of fruition, and I am confident that investors also see the opportunities of 2010. Every effort must continue to be used to improve standards of living and a better quality of life. Every individual has a responsibility.  The global economic recession has thought some to engage in conservation and to avoid wastage and this trend must continue throughout 2010. 

Crime & Security

The situation of lawlessness, crime and security that has peaked near the end of 2009 has my absolute attention as Chief of Police.  Crime must be attacked head on.  Proposals have been made to be forwarded to the Antillean Minister of Justice. 
 Crime is a critical issue that can have even greater implications for our national economy, far greater than we can ever imagine.  As a nation, every individual must work together to create a crime-free St. Maarten, both North and South, as crime does not stop at the border. An end must be brought to the lawlessness and violence in our communities and to the anti-social behavior in our schools. Our police force cannot do it alone, and as a nation, we need to tackle this together. 
As a nation we cannot tolerate the breakdown of law and order.  We have no excuse for failing and we all must stand up against violence and be determined and prepared to make a difference in 2010.  

Constitutional Affairs

This New Year is unlike any other.  My fellow St. Maarteners, 2010 represents opportunity.  Our island nation is expected to move from one constitutional status to another.  This very important step from the constellation of the Netherlands Antilles to country St. Maarten is a very important one that will reflect upon us as a people. 
Building of country St. Maarten will be a work in progress. Like so many experiences in life, the past 10-years on the road to country status, has been a journey with its ups and downs, its joys and sorrows. The destination on our journey is country status, come October 10, 2010. Our national journey is a journey to prosperity.  The obligations and responsibilities to be taken over is the prosperity that is the reward for hard work.  Out of our rich diversity, comes creativity and productivity. Our nation is on a journey, and that journey is the process of realizing the St. Maarten dream of country status.  This is a process to which we are irrevocably and unambiguously committed. 
 Let us together resolve to move forward with ambition and pride.  Let us brace ourselves for a challenging year ahead.  There is no need to be despondent.  By the will and strength of our people, we have the tenacity to overcome the challenges that come our way in 2010. Community and family play an important role in moving a nation forward.  When we face difficulties, families give us comfort, hope and practical help.  In challenging times, families must draw closer together.  The family unit is the bedrock in all communities. For 2010, let us work like St. Maarteners and let us succeed like St. Maarteners.  
May God continue to richly bless us all in 2010 and our beloved island; let us work together in a collective manner to build country St. Maarten. May peace and prosperity of our nation continue to prevail. Wishing you all a productive and happy 2010. Thank you.