SINT MAARTEN/THE HAGUE - From Tuesday September 20, 2022, until Friday September 23, 2022, His Excellency Governor Eugene B. Holiday paid a working visit to The Netherlands as part of his farewell as Governor of Sint Maarten. On Tuesday he attended the opening of the Parliamentary Year (Prinsjesdag) in The Hague. Later that day there was a formal Governor’s meeting with the Governor of Aruba and the State Secretary of Kingdom Relations, Alexandra Van Huffelen. Unfortunately, the Governor of Curacao was not able to join.
On Wednesday the Governor met with Prime Minister Mark Rutte. The Governor expressed his appreciation to the Prime Minister for their years of cooperation. The Prime Minister thanked the Governor for his efforts for Sint Maarten and the Kingdom. Subsequently Governor Holiday visited the President of the Supreme Court (Hoge Raad), Dineke De Groot, and together with the Governor of Aruba he had a lunch meeting with the President of the Dutch Human Rights Committee, Jacobine Geel.
Thursday started with a meeting with the State Secretary of Justice and Security, Eric van der Burg. The meeting with the State Secretary was followed by a meeting with the Minister Plenipotentiary of Sint Maarten, Rene Violenus. They looked back at the 12-year tenure of the Governor and spoke about the future and the challenges and opportunities for Sint Maarten that lie ahead. On Thursday evening the Minister Plenipotentiary hosted a reception in honor of Governor Holiday. Amongst the invited guests were Sint Maarten students and members of the Sint Maarten diaspora in The Netherlands.
On Friday, the Governor paid a courtesy visit to the Commander of the Armed Forces, Onno Eichelsheim, and had a meeting with State Secretary of Kingdom Relations, Alexandra van Huffelen. State Secretary Van Huffelen.
Friday afternoon State Secretary Van Huffelen hosted a farewell reception for Governor Holiday in the St. Jacob church, better known as “Grote Kerk” in The Hague. Among the guests present were ministers, state secretaries, former employees of the Cabinet of the Governor as well as family members of Governor Holiday.
Also present was former Vice chair of the Council of State, Herman Tjeenk Willink. He gave a speech looking back at his experiences and memories of working with the Governor. Mr. Tjeenk Willink touched upon a few of the many remarkable moments of the last 12 years such as his handling of the many constitutional crises and his ability to surround himself with the right people for advice and guidance when needed.
State Secretary Van Huffelen in her speech noted that Governor Holiday helped Sint Maarten through disasters such as hurricane Irma and the Covid pandemic. Van Huffelen praised his thoroughness, integrity and always putting Sint Maarten’s interest first. She also mentioned how the Governor contributed to the development of Sint Maarten as a country by paying special attention to youth.
In 2020 he established the Governor’s Youth Awards for Excellence and every year he invited several elementary schools to visit the Cabinet of the Governor to learn about the work of the Governor and the organization that supports him. The State Secretary referred to the Governor’s willingness to lend a listening ear to many in the Sint Maarten community. She described him as a “father of the people” (burgervader).
She concluded by emphasizing the wonderful job Governor Holiday did for the past 12 years and his devotion to the development of Sint Maarten. For his contribution and his accomplishments both as Governor but also in other capacities, he received a royal decoration from His Majesty the King through State Secretary Van Huffelen. Governor Holiday is now Commander in the Order of Orange-Nassau. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)