Up faction slams Richardson’s “rant”POSTED: 07/13/12 11:51 AM
St. Maarten – United People’s (Up) Party faction leader Sylvia Meyers-Olivaccee says that Independent Member of Parliament Frans Richardson should apologize for his “out of order rant about the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) and its President.” Meyers-Olivacee also classified Richardson’s “outburst” as character assassination, disrespectful, unprofessional and un-becoming of a Member of Parliament.”
“Richardson should have respect for the SHTA that represents approximately 200 businesses and employs thousands of workers. We live in a democratic and open society and the constitution guarantees our right to speak out but also have respect for the position of others, and address them in a respectful manner, not defamatory. Individuals and organizations shouldn’t feel threatened by a government official, especially a Member of Parliament, who represents the highest law making body of the country,” Meyers-Olivaccee stated in a release.
Later she’d add, “This is sending bad signals to the country’s business community and may be an indication of the future handling of our economy especially when entrepreneurs or other organizations voice their opinion about issues that concern the people of St. Maarten.”
The Up faction leader said Richardson “invented the notion that the SHTA was looking down the nose of the hard working civil servants and that it had insulted them” when the organization had not said anything negative about the workers of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau.
“As Richardson correctly pointed out, the SHTA has had a long established relationship with the civil servants of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau and worked hand in hand with them over the years. Our economy is based on tourism. The SHTA pointed out its concern of the impact of structural changes within the Ministry of Tourism. It did not jump into personal issues like Member of Parliament Frans Richardson did. The private sector organization stuck to the issues,” Meyers-Olivaccee stated.
Later she’d add, “The SHTA pointed out its concerns with not having met with the new minister of tourism (Romeo Pantophlet) as well as the way things were handled with the past acting Director of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau. This lady (May Ling Chun edi.) is a professional and was brought in from the private sector to make a positive contribution to the development of the economy. The government belittled her by offering her less money for a new six-month contract. What message is government sending to persons working in the private sector who would like to contribute to the development of the country by playing a role in its development such as the services that were provided by a local private sector business?”
The Up faction also delved into the issue of branding and strategy.
“What changes are forthcoming and how this would impact negatively or positively the tourism sector, the largest sector that employs the majority of the people of this country? Recent statistics showed that strategies and branding by the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau and its staff were yielding positive results. There was a 14.5 per cent increase in hotel room and timeshare occupancy during the past high season. This would be a branding and strategy that should be maintained, continued and not discouraged,” Meyers-Olivaccee stated.