President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell Remarks at Opening of Interpol Seminar

Interpol awareness seminar and workshop

On Medical Products Counterfeiting and Pharmaceutical Crimes


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Remarks by Hon. Gracita R. Arrindell

President of Parliament of Sint Maarten


(Delivered at the opening ceremony – Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, February 28, 2012)

Master of ceremony, Honorable Members of Parliament, Honorable Members of the Council of Ministers; Ladies and Gentlemen of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), Ladies and Gentlemen of the local and overseas law enforcement community, distinguished guests and distinguished attendees

I have heard and read about, and known of Interpol since my teenage days. I am not sure, but I suspect that the name Interpol must have been made popular, globally, by a number of movies.

I guess that is why the image that I have always associated with Interpol is that of traditional secret agents in cloak and dark shades dealing with, or otherwise hunting down some of the really bad guys of the real world and often times mixing with the Agent 007s – the James Bonds – of the movie world.

I am sure that Movie-world image of glamor and intrigue does not adequately portray either the significance or the breadth, or the importance of the work of the world’s largest international police organisation dedicated to ensuring the safety and security of today’s fragile world – a world characterised by issues such as the nervousness associated with the proliferation of nuclear weapons, trafficking in arms, in drugs and in persons, the commercial counterfeiting of pharmaceutical and other goods, money laundering, terrorism and political violence.

St. Maarten is now a very proud member of Interpol and we are anxious and willing to play a progressive role in this global partnership against criminal – and oft times inhumane activities. We are very conscious that in today’s high-tech and increasingly "globalised" environment, keeping the world safe and secure comes at a hefty price to you, your families your friends and to our citizens.

We are also conscious that in our globalised world, safety and security must be a shared responsibility deserving the specialised attention of some of our finest minds.

I am sure that assembled here this morning at the start of this very important three-day Awareness Seminar and Workshop are some of the finest minds in their respective fields from the participating member countries.

On behalf of the Parliament of St. Maarten and the people of this The Friendly Island, I welcome our visitors and wish all participants a very fruitful, informative, educational and rewarding experience, even as you enjoy the sand, sea, sun and safety that St. Maarten offers.

Congratulations to the Council of Ministers, especially Minister of Justice Hon. Roland Duncan and his team of dedicated professional staff within the Justice sector for putting together this seminar and workshop.

To all participants, I say: Remember, we are depending on you – the world is depending on you – to think and work smart; and to execute your jobs diligently, honestly and without fear or favour, as in myriad ways you play your respective roles in enhancing the safety and security of our people – the safety and security of the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
In closing: I would like to direct a few words specially to Miss Rosinette de Santana Barbosa – Assistant Director NCB Coordination Sub Directorate for the Americas – and, by extension to all female law enforcement agents – both local and from abroad – who are participating in this workshop.

Ladies, your presence and your contributions in the law enforcement organizations you proudly represent have not gone unnoticed. When we take a look around us, we can all agree that you do not fit the profile of the traditional agent in cloak and dark shades, but I have no doubt about your effectiveness.

It is evident that you are smart, you are strong, you are committed to making your contribution toward ensuring that this world is a better and safer place. And yes, you are beautiful and I salute you for all of the above and more.

Andrew Jackson once said: "One man with courage is a majority." I say: One woman with courage is an eternity!

Finally: As we prepare to usher in a new month and to observe International Women’s Day 2012 on March 8th allow me to make use of this opportunity and wish all women present an early Happy International Women’s Day.

As you continue to keep us all safe and secure, by thwarting the efforts of, and keeping at bay all those who seek to compromise our safety and security, May the Good Lord continue to bless you and to keep all of us safe.

Thank you.