Final IC meeting October 4th 2010
Island Council Member Maria Buncamper-Molanus
In 1995 I entered the political arena having had no prior intentions to ever get involved in active politics, certainly not make a career out of it. In fact for many years I maintained that I was not a career politician.
Today, 15 years later, after having been an Island Council member for 11 years, State Secretary for 1 in the Netherlands Antillean Government, Member of Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles for 4 years and Commissioner for almost 2 years, I think that I can hardly say that this has not been a career.
It has been a privilege to serve the people of the Netherlands Antilles and in particular the people of St. Maarten. I am grateful to the people of St. Maarten for haven given me the mandate to serve in these prestigious positions.
I thank the Democratic Party for providing me with the vehicle that allowed you the people to give me the mandate and I especially thank the leader of the Democratic Party for having had confidence in me, to have made all this possible.
It is fair to say that of the past 15 years, the last term was the most challenging, not so much the work – as I have always ensured that I got the best support and involved capable and dedicated people in getting the job done, but the political arena was indeed testing.
Today, as difficult as that period was, when you put things into perspective – young people killing each other, others abusing children, people dying of deceases for which we still aren’t able to find a cure, or simple senseless accidents which take lives, leaving loved ones, the community with the question –why, … I can conclude that I have been fortunate to have been able to serve the people of St. Maarten.
Allow me to thank you Mr. Chairman Reynold Groenevelt, your predecessors, Franklyn Richards, acting Lt. Governors Millicent de Weever, Mathias Voges, Lt. Governor Dennis Richardson for the good working relationship during these past 15 years. The exchange of words on the interpretation of the application of the rules of order in this legislative hall, in just a few cases are now a thing of the past, as parliament will have a politician chair it’s meetings. I must say that I look forward to that development.
To the support staff of the Island Council and the Executive Council, thank you for your dedication, your hard work and meeting at times very high and sometimes unreasonable demands. It’s been an honor to work with you. I would like to single out the Island Secretary Joane Dovale-Meit, who while often holding several positions in addition to that of Island Secretary played an important part in the constitutional process. "You and your staff have done a tremendous job. Cassandra Jansen, Angelique Gumbs and the entire staff of the Island Secretariat – thank you all for going beyond the call of duty.
To the entire civil service, I thank you for keeping the operation going regardless of which parties held the executive branch of office. The way the people’s business will be handled in Country St. Maarten should reflect improvement; accountability and ultimately better quality of service to the people of St. Maarten.
To the politicians I had the pleasure and at times less pleasure to work with, I thank you for having had the distinguished opportunity. Every experience should help a person to grow and growth in how we conduct the people’s business in Country St. Maarten is required if anyone elected or appointed truly wants to help this country and it’s people go forward.
The very brave and committed persons who throughout the years worked with me; dedication like yours is hard to come by, but necessary to excel. Thank you, I wish you well and encourage you to continue working in one way or the other, towards developing St. Maarten – our country.
I would like to thank my family and friends for your continuous support; the sacrifices made to serve the people were made by all of us. It’s safe to say a cause well worth it. Giving the history – addressing the present and working towards the future.
I would like to wish all those who have received a mandate from the people to run this country, …. to step up to the plate and take politics to a higher level.
In a few days, the people’s representatives will no longer fight their battles in the Island Council hall, in which the same persons that hold executive power also hold legislative power. No longer will it be Island Council against Executive Council after which the Executive Council having the majority support of the Island Council, regardless of the arguments made, get support to pass their proposals.
No, this arena of elected officials, representing various political parties, as well as those supporting the coalition, will have to discuss issues with each other, yes content – not a (theatrical) performances. Make their own proposals, scrutinize the proposals made by the Council of Ministers and hold the government accountable for decisions taken or not taken, all with the objective of improving the quality of life of all the people of St. Maarten.
We all have our role to play and while my role here in the legislative hall has come to an end, when called upon to serve the people of St. Maarten, I will do so.
Thank you and God Bless the people of this nation.