SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The United Nations (UN) reports that over 3000 to 5000 children are born with Down Syndrome every year worldwide and goes on to say that down syndrome has always been a part of the human condition and commonly results in variable effects on learning styles, physical characteristics and health. St. Maarten therefore, recognizes that there are many persons living on St. Maarten who are classified as being born with down syndrome and therefore have special needs. We recognize, appreciate and validate you as key stakeholders in our society for which we must ensure your rights are met and you are included.
Within our community, on St. Maarten, we have members of our community who are special and unique. However, we observe and respect their differences. On March 21, 2021, World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated. World down syndrome day brings awareness on the well-being and the need for inclusion for persons with down syndrome, but also to celebrate their individuality.
Sadly, individuality is not always respected, which is why I would like to take the opportunity to remind our citizens to join in the fight to eliminate all forms of discrimination against people with down syndrome and all who have special needs and requirements to participate fully in our society.
Let us join the international community in their fight for recognition and respect and independence of down syndrome. We must ensure that our society is beneficial and conducive for all members of our community to thrive and prosper.
I would also like to take this opportunity to highlight the work of the White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation, Sister Basilia Center and Prince Willem Alexander School for Special Education. These institutions selflessly dedicate their time and support for persons with down syndrome and their families as well as all other institutions that help to integrate them in their mainstream care, assisting in preparation of persons with down syndrome to be productive members of society and allow them to feel included in our community.
On behalf of the government of St. Maarten, Happy World Down Syndrome Day.