PHILIPSBURG — Acting Governor Reynold Groeneveldt unexpectedly passed away on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. News of his passing soon spread quickly throughout the legal community on the island. “With his passing, St. Maarten has suffered a great loss,” Governor Drs. Eugène Holiday said in a press statement.
Groeneveldt started his career as a teacher, but he later went on to become a legal scholar, a respected attorney and a champion of St. Maarten’s constitution. He was also the initiator of the Legal Review pages on StMaartenNews.com.
Publisher Terrance Rey said that Groeneveldt had just promised him another article for the Legal Review section of his website. “Just a week ago we had another interesting discussion about prescriptive rights.”
Groeneveldt was acting lieutenant governor during the transition from island territory to autonomous country in 2010. Om October 10, 2010, he was appointed acting governor and in 2016 he was reappointed.
“My staff and I could always count on him to hold the fort during my absence,” Governor Holiday states in his press release. “His profound passion for the office was evident during many of our conversations behind closed doors. He was a proud and generous St. Maartener who was always willing to share his time and knowledge.”
Groeneveldt was committed to the development of St. Maarten with a keen eye for social aspects. This appears for instance for statements he made during the symposium Innovate of Deteriorate, organized by the Social Economic Council on June 12, 2013.
“Economic growth without the social and educational development of our people and the protection of the environment can never lead to sustainable development,” he said on that occasion. He also suggested that private corporations, government and unions reach an agreement about the establishment of a national policy for economic growth and social development.
On July 18, 2015, on the occasion of International Justice Day, Groeneveldt called for the establishment of a law faculty at the University of St. Maarten. “Education lays the foundation for a brighter tomorrow of peace, security and tranquility.”
More recently, on April 19, 2022, Groeneveldt was one of the experts taking part in a round table discussion about the Kingdom Charter, its relation to the United Nations in terms of decolonization and the democratic deficit in the kingdom.
Referring to UN resolutions 1514 and 1541, Groeneveldt stated in the position paper he submitted for this event that St. Maarten “still possesses the right to self-determination and it can still opt to become an independent state.”
He also shed some light on the current status of St. Maarten: “The decolonization process started in 1865. We must conclude that since 1954 and thereafter we cannot still be considered to be a colony.”
Governor Holiday paid tribute to his colleague with the following statement at the end of his press release. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Glenda, his daughter Angela, and all the people of St. Maarten who hold Reynold Groeneveldt dear. He will be dearly missed.”
The Council of Ministers of St. Maarten offers deepest condolences on the passing of Acting Governor Reynoldt Groeneveldt
The following is a press statement issued by the office of the PRIME MINISTER OF SINT MAARTEN.
Date: Tuesday, May 24, 2022
COM of St. Maarten offers deepest condolences on the passing of Acting Governor Reynoldt Groeneveldt
SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The Council of Ministers (COM) was deeply shocked and saddened upon learning of the passing of the Acting Governor Reynoldt Groeneveldt, who served the country for the past 12 years in this capacity.
The country has indeed lost another giant; one who has served as a civil servant in the Island Territory of St. Maarten for many years, before becoming a lawyer and contributing in service to his clients and the country in that capacity.
Prime Minister Hon. Silveria Jacobs: “On behalf of the Council of Ministers, I extend heartfelt condolences to the family and pray that grace and mercy covers all who are left to mourn.
“Mr. Groeneveldt’s great example of dedication and service to his family and this country should serve as an example for all other citizens of St. Maarten. May we all live to be dearly loved and appreciated by our families, and make an impact on our people, our livelihood, on St. Maarten.”
As a dignitary of the country, the flags will fly at half-mast at government buildings tomorrow (Wednesday) and on the day of internment in honor of his life. Acting Governor Reynoldt Groeneveldt was an example of a humble servant of the people, always willing to assist, give advice to individuals as well as government. Mr. Groeneveldt also kept the people of St. Maarten informed via various media forums.
His contribution to the development of St. Maarten and her people both during the days of Island Territory, as well as the first Acting Governor of St. Maarten since Oct 10, 2010, has not gone unnoticed and will be revered and memorialized throughout history.
On behalf of the Council of Ministers and people of St. Maarten, we offer deepest condolences and heartfelt prayers for strength to endure these difficult days ahead to his widow, Mrs. Glenda Groeneveldt-Smith, the entire family circle, and the people of St. Maarten as we mourn the loss of a great man.
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Date: May 24, 2022
Subject: Statement Governor Eugene Holiday on the passing of Acting Governor Reynold Groenveldt.
I was saddened to learn of the passing of my colleague, acting Governor Reynold Groeneveldt. With his passing Sint Maarten has suffered a great loss.
Originally an educator Reynold Groeneveldt went on to become a legal scholar, respected attorney, and champion of our constitution. Mr. Groeneveldt was a proud Sint Maartener who served his country in various capacities. He was acting lieutenant governor during the constitutional transition in 2010. On October 10, 2010, Mr. Groeneveldt became the first acting Governor and was reappointed in 2016. In that capacity my staff and I could always count on him to hold the fort during my absence. His profound passion for the office was evident during many of our conversations behind closed doors. He was a proud and generous Sint Maartener who was always willing to share his time and knowledge.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Glenda, his daughter Angela, and all the people of Sint Maarten who hold Reynold Groeneveldt dear.
He will be dearly missed.
Cabinet of the Governor of Sint Maarten