News & Media

The Future Beckons You Back to St. Maarten, SXM Airport Managing Director tells Holland-bound Students

SIMPSON BAY, St. Maarten (Tuesday, August 4, 2015) - “You are leaving home as teenagers, and will be returning as adults in a few years. Between now and then, you will experience life in a manner you have never done before,” Regina LaBega, Managing Director of Princess Juliana International Airport, SXM Airport, told about 30 students who left the island Sunday, August 2, to further their studies in the Netherlands.

SXM Airport, in collaboration with Domino’s Pizza, continued a tradition began four years ago, by organizing a “Bon Voyage” party for the students who were joined by their families and friends who came to bid them farewell.

“That moment has arrived to show that you are grown up; that you can stand on your own feet; that you don’t need anybody to tell you what to do, when to study or when to come back home from the disco. Free at last! But it is what you do with that freedom that will determine your success. One thing is for sure, you will not come back home the same again,” LaBega said in her address to the students.

Emphasizing the various differences between life in the Netherlands and St. Maarten and in Europe and the Caribbean, LaBega said: “The future, therefore, does not await you in Holland. The future beckons you back to St. Maarten because this is where you’re needed; this is where you’re loved; this is where you belong.”

“Your focus always should be on your mission; the reason you are leaving your family and loved ones behind. That reason is to get an education and prepare yourselves to come back to build your own nation,” she exhorted the students.

“All the investment your parents, your families, the government and indeed, this society has made in you would have been in vain if you fail to come back to build that St. Maarten all of us dream about. But we believe in you; we believe in your talents, in your dedication and hard work and look forward to welcoming you back through these same gates you will be leaving from,” LsBega said.

Also at hand to wish the students well were Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs, who stressed that St. Maarten needs them to return at the completion of their studies. Mrs. Rita Gumbs-Bourne, Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports, who, speaking along the same lines as the prime minister, said this was an opportunity for the students to broaden their horizons and gain vital experience that they could use to contribute to the uplifting of their country.

Similarly, Mrs. Josianne Fleming-Artsen, St. Maarten’s Minister Plenipotentiary in The Netherlands, was present at the send-off ceremony.

The KLM plane carrying the students got a special water cannon salute from the Fire-fighting and Rescue Department of the airport, while the students received goodie bags with several branded SXM gift items as well as pizza from Domino’s. DJ King Kembe provided musical entertainment at an affair that included MC Suppa.