Connor moves to Vromi – new candidates pending : Cabinet reshuffle after the summerPOSTED: 07/12/15 10:14 PM
Minister Claret Connor’s days as the Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs are almost over. Photo contributed
St. Maarten – Minister Claret Connor will be removed from his position at the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication after the summer and stay in the cabinet as the Minister of Public Housing, Urban Planning, Environment and Infrastructure. United People’s party faction leader Franklin Meyers made this announcement on Wednesday in an interview with Oral Gibbes.
Meyers said that it is crucial to add two more ministers to the cabinet that is still incomplete. Independent MP Leona Marlin-Romeo will name a candidate for the Ministry of Tourism and Economic Affairs, Meyers said. The UP faction leader said that a name for this post has already been submitted. “The screening takes however three months,” he pointed out.
A candidate for the vacant position at the Ministry of Public Health, Social Affairs and Labor – currently under the wings of Education-Minister Rita Bourne-Gumbs – will soon been submitted, Meyers said.
The reshuffling of the cabinet will be complete “by the end of August or in the beginning of September,” Meyers said.
The announcement, in particular the shuffle at the Ministry of Tourism and Economic Affairs, did not go down well with opposition MP Sarah Wescot-Williams. “The faction of the DP is seriously concerned about the state of our tourism industry,” she wrote in a statement yesterday. “There is a lack of representation abroad, a lack of funds, a lack of direction, a lack of real dialogue between partners and a lack of investment in the tourism product in general.”
Wescot-Williams points in her statement to America’s changing policies towards Cuba. “If there is one time the coalition should put country above self, it should be in the appointment of the person to fill the position of Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication. Say what you may, the current minister came from that sector. At this juncture we have no time for a prolonged learning curve.”
These statements seem to imply concerns about the potential candidate MP Marlin-Romeo might nominate. Wescot-Williams made an urgent appeal to the cabinet to stick to its own agreement that the candidate to the ministry will be appointed based on a collective decision. “We are convinced that most coalition members understand that we can ill afford an appointment for appointment’s sake. Our next minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication should not be a candidate for the sake of the coalition, but a candidate for the sake of St. Maarten.’
Wescot-Williams furthermore stated that she wants to know which direction the government wants to take to secure the island’s economy and its tourism product. “Not at the completion of the National Development Plan, but now.”