Honourable President of Parliament Drs. Gracita Arrindell, while in Aruba delivered the following message to the people and Government of Aruba:
People of Aruba, I speak to you tonight on behalf of the Parliament, the Government and the people of The Friendly Island of Sint Maarten.
I feel humbled as I bring to you, on their behalf, warm fraternal greetings and congratulations as you mark and celebrate this historic milestone – 25 years or the silver jubilee of status aparte.
Masha pabien! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Di fondo di mi curazon for the warm welcome and extraordinary hospitality you have extended to me and to other members of the Sint Maarten delegation.
I feel truly privileged to be here sharing this very special and historic moment with you. Never in my wildest dreams as a little girl attending the Commandeur Pieter Boer school in Aruba, did I expect to return some 45 years later and address you as a representative of the people of Sint Maarten. It’s good to be back. Aruba Ariba!
Over these years you the people of Aruba have been working diligently to make your dream come true and to make this your beautiful island an even better gem in the Caribbean.
After 25 years of status aparte, you have made great strides as a people and today, Aruba is a pacesetter and a very resilient country within the kingdom. It is blessed with a people who are as passionate as they are resilient, dedicated, hard-working, reliable and creative. To your credit, Aruba has been, and continues to be served by patriots who are true ambassadors of your common cause.
People of Aruba, Aruba first, Aruba prome Aruba ariba!
Who can hold this against you, I ask?
Dear friends, when many people thought you were down. When many people believed that you were down and under – and even out – you did not waver. You believed in yourselves and you believed in your cause. Recognition and congratulations go out to all your leaders – past and present, well-known and lesser known – who have contributed in one way or another in bringing you to this historic milestone.
We the people of St. Maarten are happy for you. We rejoice and we celebrate with you.
My friends, your status aparte was not a gift. It was a great achievement and the product of the expression of your inalienable rights!
Jelle Visser and Anton Hemerijck authors of the book "A Dutch Miracle" published in 1997 explained how the Dutch political economy became the wonder and sometimes the envy of foreign observers.
Well, I have to state that in my humble view, you the people of Aruba who more than 25 years ago took the difficult, but correct and necessary decision to fashion your own destiny, have been able to turn hardship into hope. With vigour, you have transformed adversity into success. You have rolled up your sleeves, dusted off yourselves, and you have kept moving forward. Failure was simply not an option.
My friends, you have been the great architects of the Aruba Miracle. Congratulations.
Before I close, let me say this: Twenty-five years is but a brief moment in the history of a country. Yours is still a great work in progress. And, as we in St. Maarten embark on our own journey, we hope to make full use of your archives and of your experience. For there is much we can learn from each other. There is much that we can, and must do together. We need to rekindle our friendship. We must strengthen our deeply rooted family and other ties. And, in partnership, we must explore and exploit to the fullest all possible areas of functional cooperation to the mutual benefit of our people.
Finally, in closing, I am reminded of your son of the soil – the illustruous Jossy Brokke who, in his infinite wisdom professing his love and respect for his island and its people, captured the essence of your struggles and aspirations brilliantly with these simple words in his song… Si mi tin ku reincarna.
Thank u Aruba! Congratulations Aruba! Masha danki. God Bless you. Long live the friendship between our two countries! Long live the peoples of Aruba and St. Maarten!"