Governor Baly’s Speech in Parliament
Madame Chairlady, members of Parliament
..My fellow Sint Maarteners…Good Morning!
And a happy Constitution Day.
I Ajamu Baly have just handed over to this esteemed body a duplicate of the Royal decree concerning my appointment and the official record of my oath-taking, and I am about to notify you, the residents, of my acceptance of the office of Governor.
But before I do that, Madam Chairlady please permit me to share with you a story. A story about:
Its greatest asset; &
I stand before you today not as a product of my own concern, but of one molded, encouraged, invested in, loved and inspired by my village.
A village built on blood, sweat and tears inspired solely by a vision of a better tomorrow. The tomorrow of then that we experience today. A heritage of our ancestral village.
We are all here as a result of the struggles, actions and triumphs of our direct and distant ancestors.
You see, it took a village to raise this child.
You brought me to this point, it is only right that I do my part to ensure that we are able to bring the next villager to this or whichever point they wish to arrive at. This in order to keep the circle of life flowing maintaining our human capital.
To the Sint Maarten Diaspora; your village needs you!!
Its greatest asset
So, what is the greatest asset of our village?
Is it our beautiful beaches, the sunshine, our lush green hills, our expansive hilltop views, our world class cuisine, uniqueness of our French and Dutch side and the list goes on and on.
I once read that a person/people will never rise above the opinion they have of themselves. What opinion do we have of ourselves?
It is said that we are a traditionally hard-working, friendly, proud and resilient people.
We were entrepreneurs long before entrepreneurship was a thing. My Grandmother, Mrs. Olinie Sherwood-Romney ran a successful bakery right here on Backstreet selling amongst others some of the sweetest sweetbreads you ever tasted. And I say the following with all respect to those baking sweetbreads today; I have yet to taste another that comes even close. But hey, I am biased. She also had a franchise of this bakery on Anguilla where she also had property.
My Great Grandmother Ms. Eler Brown; we called her Gran, farmed cattle, on Bush Road, right here in Cul-de-Sac where I was raised. Gran fed that cattle with the best grass that Gran herself would go to Beacon Hill to cut. Gran used to go to Great Bay very early in the morning where she closed deals on the sale of the milk and meat of her cattle, then travelled back home to Cul-de-Sac to instruct (the eldest of her ten children Mrs. Floricia Baly-Brown) my grandmother; to deliver the products; said milk and meat to her clients in Great Bay and this was all done by foot mind you, before the midday hour. Yeah, I don't know how either, I guess time really moved slower back then. But I digress...
These are just two examples of some phenomenal women of our island. And so there are many more examples of phenomenal men and women alike.
You see, it is important for us to remember where and who we came from, the challenges that our ancestors have overcome for us to be here. Our resilience is no happenstance it is engrained in our DNA.
So we owe it to them to give it our all everyday but we also owe it to ourselves and to the future. (A future whose blueprint is in our hands as architects of our own future and that of the next generation).
A tremendous responsibility. But, with our individual and collective brilliance, tenacity and propriety we are determined and destined to continue to rise to this challenge.
And in doing so inspire the next generation as we are inspired by the generations before us.
In the event it is not yet evident, or I have not been clear on what our greatest asset is; it is you; our people of this great nation Sint Maarten/Soualiga.
As leaders of this our beloved village we should take decisions with this asset always in mind. Those decisions taken today ought to be taken with the reverence of our villagers that came before us and with the determination for a sustainable future for the villagers that are to come after us.
As it states on our Coat of Arms, Semper Pro Grediens; always progressing.