Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin has taken note of the debate that has spread through the community concerning her statement during the Council of Ministers Press Briefing on Wednesday morning. Through this press release, the Prime Minister aims to clarify the difference between a Public & National holiday.
During the Council of Ministers Press Briefing, Prime Minister Romeo Marlin stated the following, “……I also take this opportunity to clarify that Sint Maarten Day is not a National holiday, thus Monday November 12th will be a regular working day.”
Sint Maarten Day by law is celebrated only on the date November 11th, unlike other Public holidays, there is no provision for an alternate date if the holiday falls on a weekend.
By definition a Public holiday is a holiday that is generally established by law and is usually a non-working day. While a National holiday is a day when a nation or a non-sovereign country celebrates its independence, establishment or an otherwise important occasion.
With that being established, Sint Maarten is not an independent nation and thus its holidays are referred to as Public Holidays or in Dutch “feestdagen”. Therefore, by definition Sint Maarten Day is a Public holiday.
It is also worthwhile to note that France and all its Territories including French St. Martin have been celebrating Armistice Day on November 11th since 1918 as a Public holiday.
In the early 1950’s the local elected officials of both Dutch & French side got together to establish a celebration that acknowledged Christopher Columbus sighting of Sint Maarten on November 11th, thus establishing St. Maarten day as a shared holiday that alternates on both sides.
Prime Minister Romeo Marlin also reminds the public that the Sint Maarten flag is celebrated on Sint Maarten Day, “so let us hold our flag high and take pride in our country as we celebrate our “Sweet Sint Maarten Land”.