Richardson receives the baton of leadershipPOSTED: 04/2/12 3:52 PM
The members of the new Territorial Council pose for a photo on the steps of the Collectivité shortly after their first meeting.
MARIGOT, St. Martin – The baton was passed to the new president of the Collectivite Alain Richardson as the Territorial Council of the new Collectivite voted unanimously for the leader of the Triple R group to be the next president during the installation ceremonies that was held at the Hotel de la Collectivite on Sunday. Outgoing president of the Collectivité Frantz Gumbs said that he has no doubt that the relationship that was built up with Anguilla and St. Maarten will continue.
“I have no doubt that all concerned who are seeking ways and means to better these relationships, are in the best interest of our peoples,” Gumbs said.
He thanked the population for the respect and the consideration given to the institutions of the Collectivite and particularly to the function of the president.
“I have no doubt that this will continue with the next president.”
Gumbs’ final function was to guide the installation of the next president as is customary in the French Republic. He called on the oldest and the youngest in the Territorial Council which resulted in the eldest person acting as the secretary for the installation of the new president. During these ceremonies the members of the Territorial Council were called on to vote for the next president which resulted in the entire council including the Opposition members, headed by Daniel Gibbs, voting unanimously for the new president. He received loud cheers from the audience which numbered in several hundreds and was then sashed by the secretary.
Following the installation ceremonies Richardson presented his general policy statement for the next five years in government. He commended the population for the way they supported him and noted that “when St. Martin is at stake the people know how to unite in the interest of the island. It is in the light of this spirit that I accept this responsibility.”
The new president asked the population to understand that according to the rules his policy statement must be done in French. Dignitaries who attended the ceremonies were given a listening device where they heard simultaneous translation of the document that was being read by the president. Because of the length of the document it could not be done in English and French. Richardson has pledged that he will make the document available in English at the next meeting of the Territorial Council.
Following his speech, Richardson called on all to “roll up their sleeves” as he did, so that they could get to work. He also asked the God bless St. Martin. Richardson then chaired his first Territorial Council meeting which was held at the Legislative Hall in the Hotel de Collectivite. During the first discussions Opposition Leader Daniel Gibbs asked that the mandate of for some of the delegations that were installed be only given six months to operate because they in the opposition were only given the documents regarding the appointments the day before.
This was denied by the President Richardson after debate in the Territorial Council and voted unanimously by the members of the Executive Branch with the opposition abstaining.
“We just wanted to have discussions with the councilors and they presented an amendment that this was not accepted,” he said.
A large delegation from the Dutch Side headed by Governor Eugene Holiday attended the ceremony. Anguilla was also represented by a delegation headed by Chief Minister Hubert Hughes.