PHILIPSBURG: On Sunday, December 12, the Voluntary Korps of St. Maarten (VKS) held its graduation ceremony at the Sundial School where 18 of its new members were sworn in as VKS Soldiers afteran intense 9-month training. The ceremony began with theentire VKS membership marching through Philipsburg and ending at the Sundial School to witness the 11th group’s installation.The Honorable Prime Minister Silveria E. Jacobs, Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson, Acting Commander of the VKS, Captain Alain Richardson, VKS Chef Bureau Opleidingen Sergeant Major Alfred Leito, former VKS Commanders Mr. Jean Illidge and Mr. Antonio Rogers, and the newly sworn-in soldiers’ loved ones were all in attendance.
During the ceremony, Prime Minister Jacobs told the new incoming batch of soldiers, “At times, many persons underestimate the power of volunteering. As a volunteer, it is rewarding to lend your service in support of a cause with no type of personal gain. This is genuinely the St. Maarten way when neighbors continue to help neighbors. But there is something more significant than personal gain; there is the opportunity to learn new skills, enhance skills you already have, and contribute to strengthening our society and solidarity.”
Chef Bureau Opleidingen Sergeant Major Alfred Leito expressed, “A bearer of responsibility you will be and it is expected of you to play an active role in upholding discipline. You are a role model to people in our community.” Acting Commander of the VKS, Captain Alain Richardson addressed the incoming soldiers on what the meaning of The Code of Ethics in a prestigious organization like the VKS entails.
The ceremony continued with a dinner reception at the Emilio Wilson Park coordinated and hosted by Social Committee Sergeant Major Bernice Richardson. During the reception, the incoming soldiers were awarded their certificates signifying the completion of their training and the start of their volunteer work within the community of St. Maarten.
“Because they completed their training and were present at the ceremony to graduate, I know they see the bigger picture of a greater St. Maarten where we all work together to ensure that we have a safe St. Maarten for all. Furthermore, knowing the risks inherent in this work, they have chosen to be front liners. While we continue to face challenges, natural and other disasters, where our home security comes into jeopardy, the work of the VKS in conjunction with the KPSM, Coast Guard, and Customs Department is unmeasurable,” Prime Minister Jacobs concluded.