King’s Day 2015 was celebrated on Saba with an ecumenical service in honour of King Willem-Alexander at Sacred Heart Church in The Bottom. During the service, long-time organists and youth leaders Patricia Johnson and Carmen Simmons received royal decorations.
After the opening prayer by Pastor Mervin Alexander, several readings were read by Wilma Every and J. Franklin Wilson, and a speech was given by Island Governor Jonathan Johnson. Johnson mentioned that it has only been two years since King Willem-Alexander took over the reign from his mother, adding that Princess Beatrix is still very dear to the hearts of Sabans. Johnson also mentioned that King Willem-Alexander has shown and proven that he is capable and able to lead his people and that the King is evolving with the times. “A small example of this is the signing of Royal Decrees. A provision has now been made that the King can place a digital signature to a Royal Decree. if he is not in the Netherlands. Upon return to his office he can sign the original document by pen,” Johnson explained.
The Island Governor also spoke about the “devastating” death of a medical student in Saba and that the initial conclusions are that her death was crime-related.
Two persons received “by Royal Decree” a medal which appointed them as Member in the Order of Orange- Nassau. Patricia Johnson and Carmen Simmons had both served their church as organists for decades and also led youth organisations, Johnson mentioned.
At the end of the service, which included prayers and blessings by Father Ranulfo Goneda and Pastor Vernon Liburd, the Dutch anthem “Het Wilhelmus” was sung.
In the afternoon, a free market (vrijmarkt in Dutch) was held on the lawn in front of the Government Building. Free markets are a tradition in the Netherlands, where everybody, especially children, can sell their secondhand merchandise. The two ladies, who initiated this event, were chairperson of UNICEF Saba Child Rights Committee Liss Koevoets and Carolien Teeuwen of Centre for Youth and Family. “We thought of creating this event only a week ago when we discovered there were no activities planned for children on Monday. Only last Friday we received permission from the government,” Teeuwen said. For next year, more elaborate plans are in the making to make King’s Day more of a national event. There are plans to introduce King’s Night prior to King’s Day. Also a special orange-pie baking contest will be organised after the church service. These events are to be announced on the new King’s Day Facebook page.
Last Friday, the King’s Games were held at Johan Cruijff Court in The Bottom, with participation of Sacred Heart Primary School pupils. The games lasted throughout the morning, after which a healthy brunch was served, reports The Daily Herald.