Official Message New Year’s 2010 By the Honourable Franklyn E. Richards

People of St. Maarten,

The New Year is a time for resolutions, for pledging to make changes and develop opportunities as individuals, families, communities and as an island nation. 

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For the Year 2010, let us as an island nation pledge to build a better society. A society that is safer, healthier, better educated, and environmentally friendly. A society that is attentive and receptive to our youth and principles of good (corporate) governance.

In addition to the aforementioned let us as an island nation pledge to ensure more respect, tolerance and shared traditions and values that prevail throughout our communities.

This year offers St. Maarten opportunities of real and serious changes that would have quite an impact on society, not only as government but also on as citizens of St. Maarten.

Becoming Country

Aattaining country status within the Kingdom of the Netherlands has required much attention of government authorities and officials.

The population has in the past expressed its preference for a status of their choice. The target date in becoming country is now set for October 10, 2010, (10-10-10) just nine (9) months and ten (10) days left to complete all the many preparations.

With important legislation such as law to transfer Central Government tasks to the respective island territories of Curacao and St. Maarten passed on December 29, 2009, an important step ‘en route to country status’ has been made. Therefore 2010 will be a year of significant challenges and considerable changes in public services that will be accompanied by more responsibility and accountability.

Elections are additionally scheduled for the island council, with an eye to attaining country status and the future parliament of country St. Maarten.

It should be noted that in 2010, we will probably have 2 elections. The first one on January 22, 2010, is to choose members of the Antillean parliament.

In the event that the Netherlands Antilles ceases to exist on the planned date, 10-10-10, the chosen members of the Antillean parliament will in fact not be able to hold on to their functions very long as there will be new elections for the future parliament of country St. Maarten.

In light of the above, the position of the governor (gezaghebber) of the island territories Curacao and St. Maarten will also undergo a change of great significance.

Curacao and St. Maarten will attain to country status within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Consequently the function of governor of the respective aforementioned island territories will cease to exist. In becoming countries new Governors (Gouverneurs) will be appointed for the countries Curacao and St. Maarten.

Let us work together in a collective manner to build country St. Maarten.


Combating Crime

Combating crime remains important for St. Maarten. This is also the case for French St. Maarten.

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 behaviour 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.

Serious forms of crime such as murder, public display of violence, assaults and drugs smuggling must be dealt with the available legitimate means.

Much attention will therefore be paid to the restructuring of the police force. Important elements of the new organization will be basic police work, border control, immigration, crime investigation, police visibility and operations.

Concrete agreements and a proper information exchange system with our French side counterparts remain in place to combat crime on both sides of the island in an effective manner.

I therefore call on all residents of St. Maarten and St. Martin to join together to take a big bite out of crime!

Economic Challenges

The global credit economic crisis that started in the United States of America is now a great challenge for every economy.

Having a small, open economy, it has impacted our tourism and travel industry. Reports reveal that the tourism season is down over 10 per cent.

While there have been some recovery signs in the global economy for 2009, the expectations from economic forecasters are that this recovery should continue in 2010.

In light of aforementioned every business, resident as well as government must do their part as to insure our island nation emerges stronger when this global crisis blows over.

Fellow St. Maarteners,

Let us together resolve to move forward with ambition and pride. Let us brace ourselves for a challenging year ahead.

We have survived the past year with resolve, hard work and personal sacrifice of every household.

I would like take this opportunity to thank you for seeing through these challenging times during the past year.

By the will and strength of our people, we have the determination to overcome the challenges that come our way in 2010.

Community and family play an important role in moving a nation forward.

In challenging times, families must draw closer together.

The family unit is the bedrock in all communities.

May God continue to richly bless us all and peace and prosperity of our island nation continue to prevail.

My wife Angela, my children Joaquim and Keshia, as well as all members of my cabinet, join me in extending, to you, and yours, a prosperous, healthy and blessed 2010.



Thank you!