Prime Minister's Statement on the Anniversary of Hurricane Irma

September 5, 2023 11:19 pm

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten— Today, as St. Martin commemorates the anniversary of the passing of Hurricane Irma, our hearts are heavy with the memories of the destruction and loss that this unprecedented or category 5+ hurricane brought to our beloved island on September 6, 2017. This day marks not only a somber reminder of the challenges we faced but also a testament to the indomitable spirit of resilience that defines us as St. Martiners.

Six years ago, Hurricane Irma ripped through our island, leaving a trail of destruction that was almost beyond comprehension. Homes were torn apart, buildings were shattered, and many of our dear friends and family members faced unimaginable hardships. But in the face of this immense adversity, we stood together, united by a shared determination to rebuild and emerge stronger than ever before.

Many of us returned to our connection to the soil by banning together any rediscovering our agricultural roots and pairing that with a renewed sense of community. Without the luxuries of technology there was a push to ensure that our loved ones were safe.

We adopted the motto “SXMStrong,” a symbol of our unwavering commitment to resilience and recovery. Under the Mighty Dow musicians came together and made a song reminiscent of our mantra. Even when facing insurmountable turmoil, we echoed “SxmStrong”.

In the years that followed, we rolled up our sleeves and worked tirelessly to restore our beautiful island. We rebuilt our homes, repaired our infrastructure, and rekindled the spirit of hope and community that defines us as a nation.

Today, we take a moment to remember those we lost during that fateful time, and our thoughts are with the families. We also want to acknowledge the mental and emotional toll that Hurricane Irma took on so many of us. The trauma and stress that followed such a catastrophic event were immense, and the scars it left on our collective psyche are still healing.

“Today we are still in recovery of buildings, key infrastructure and lives recently devastated yet again by more trauma, and yet we give thanks. We live in gratitude that we survive and have opportunity to thrive. That our resilience is not cliche but part of our DNA. I pray for continued blessings and safety if one and all as we remember Irma and the lessons learned and continue to be always prepared.” stated Prime Minister Jacobs.

On this anniversary, let us come together as a resilient community, not just to remember the devastation but to celebrate our remarkable journey of recovery. Let us honor the strength and unity that carried us through literal dark days and continue to guide us toward a brighter future.

As we look to the horizon, let us remember that St. Martin’s best days are still ahead of us. We will continue to rebuild, to heal, and to thrive as a resilient nation. Together, we are #SXMStrong.