Address to Netherlands-bound students by Managing Director Of PJIAE


 “Bon Voyage”-Address to Netherlands-bound students by Regina LaBega, Managing Director, Princess Juliana International Airport operating company (PJIAE).

PJIA, Sunday, July 29, 2012


Honorable Minister

Parents, relatives and friends

And in particular, the departing students,

I am very aware that this is a rather emotional moment for most of you, but while the emotions flow, we should still be able to see through the tears that we are gathered here actually for a unique occasion to bid farewell to our sons and daughters leaving our shores in a little while to further their education in The Netherlands.

It is a "Bon voyage” which should ordinarily fill us all with joy because this is a journey with a specific purpose. For the departing students, the purpose is very clear: to pursue excellence in your chosen areas of study and to return to contribute in a meaningful way to the building of this our nation, St. Maarten. Armed with this sense of purpose, you should realize that a whole nation depends on how you perform out there.

PJIA is proud to be a partner in this token send-off ceremony. But I want you to bear this in mind: when you leave to board your flight, the gate you will be departing from is not, I repeat, is not a “gate of no return.” To the contrary, you should think of PJIA as “the gate of soon return” because we expect to welcome you back, with all fanfare, at the successful completion of your studies. We don’t want you, your parents don’t want you to become part of that dismal statistics of children we send abroad and who never return, or never complete their studies.

St. Maarten needs you not only to be good students, but also responsible ambassadors who will do the island proud anywhere you may find yourself in the world. The reason PJIA decided to do this Bon Voyage is to let you all know that we are counting on you to do your best, and return through this same airport, to take your rightful positions on this island.

You are leaving as students today, and when you finish your various courses, in a few years, you will be returning as men and women, prepared to take St. Maarten to a much higher level. I wish you the best of luck in all your endeavors. You’re embarking on perhaps the most critical journey of your lives, in search of what some have called the Golden Fleece. Go for it, come back with it as soon as possible, and make this island a much better place for all.

I can assure you PJIA is rooting for you, and so is the whole island. Bon voyage and may the good Lord go with you.

I thank you.