March 23, 2021
Fellow St. Martiners,
Today, March 23, 2021, we come together from the north and south of our shared island to commemorate the Treaty of Concordia. What better place to do so than at this location, on Concordia Hill. We do so in the spirit of the treaty’s principle of “peaceful coexistence” between the people of St. Martin.
The Treaty recognized the need and value of cooperation for the development of our island. Since the signing of the Treaty 373 years ago today, its principle of peaceful coexistence has endured in the face of numerous and recurrent challenges and threats.
Speaking of challenges, we need not look far. For over a year now we are faced with the realities of the unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our health, on our economy, and on our way of life. And this following the devastation caused on our island by Hurricane Irma just three and half years ago.
Throughout these challenges we were and continue to be reminded of the interconnectedness of our island and people. We were reminded that whatever affects the south affects the north of our island and vice-versa. We were reminded that we form a natural bond that transcends across our north/south border. A bond anchored:
- In the geographic reality that our island is one island;
- In our social reality that we are connected through close families ties and friendships;
- In our cultural reality that we have a shared history and traditions; and
- In the economic reality that we form an economic union.
In short, a real enduring bond that shaped our way of life.
Passed on from generation to generation our way of life of peaceful coexistence has served to help shape and develop our friendly island into a truly unique Caribbean Gem, our Sweet St. Martin Land.
Today’s commemoration there-fore reconfirms the importance and value of our enduring bond and interactions. Faced with increasing threats from climate change and global pandemics as well as from the ever changing global environment, the Treaty reminds us that we must respond with greater cooperation and coordination to secure our future.
We must do so, in solidarity and with determination to meet the real and practical needs of the people of our shared island. That is through effective cooperation to secure work and protect the health and safety of our people.
My fellow St. Martiners,
In closing, on this 373rd anniversary of the Treaty of Concordia, let us therefore draw inspiration from its principle of cooperation to create new opportunities and secure the wellbeing of current and future generations of St Martiners.
God bless you,
And may God bless St. Martin and protect its coasts.