New Minister De Weever wants to “forge ahead”

POSTED: 03/11/11 4:51 PM

St. Maarten – “We must forge ahead.” Those were the words Dr. Cornelius de Weever held in the front of his mind on Thursday as he took his oath of office as Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor. De Weever replaces Maria Buncamper-Molanus who stepped down on December 23 and announced Monday she will not serve in his cabinet staff.
“I guess this is your first lesson with me of not believing everything you read and hear. I will meet Mrs. Buncamper-Molanus to discuss the transition, what she’d been doing and where she was going. I have also met with the prime minister to talk about how we forge ahead,” De Weever said.
He added, “Honestly my first priority is to sit down with my colleagues in the Council of Ministers and make sure that we will be able to work together. I also want to meet all the relevant stakeholders and establish that this is all about the people.”
De Weever took his oath at 2:00 p.m. Thursday and went to his first cabinet meeting with a third party at 3:00 p.m. symbolizing that he’s “hit the ground running.” As preparation for the function he met the ministry’s management team on Wednesday.
“Coming out of that and my years in government already I feel that I am very current and aware of the challenges and I am ready to continue the work. One of the things that I must really stress is that this is about the people and for that I must have the buy in of all the ministers and the coalition so that we can forge ahead,” the newly appointed Minister said.
De Weever’s background includes serving as medical advisor, deputy program manager for the HIV/AIDS Program Management Team and Chief Operations Officer at the Inspectorate of Health.
Chairman of Parliament’s Permanent Committee on Public Health, Social Development and Labor Petrus Leroy de Weever, who is the Minister’s uncle, has advised the new minister to observe the rules governing his duties and to help the people.
“That’s all the advice I gave him, because he’s his own man. He is one of the only ministers that has been vetted so thoroughly, probably beyond what has been done here in St. Maarten or in Curacao. I wished him the best of luck and I expect him function as a Minister and work with his colleagues,” MP De Weever said
Committee Vice Chairman and faction leader of the United People’s (UP) Party repeated the congratulations he’d given De Weever when it was announced that the latter was the candidate.
“I’ve known for several years. We have a good relationship and so I know his capabilities and what he stands for and I know we will be able to work together to complete some of the goals I have for this four year term so I look forward to teaming up on legislation,” Laville said.
Despite the relationship Laville intends to be “on the Minister day and night to ensure that especially the labor issues are handled well.”
“Our friendship does not negate that he has something to do. While I will help him in the good times, I will also be on him when he messes up. The friendship will not be sheltered when it comes to the needs of the people of St. Maarten,” Laville said.
The contact between the Minister and the MP may be mostly by phone as Laville does not expect that a committee meeting will be necessary on every issue.
National Alliance MP Dr. Lloyd Richardson, who also sits on the committee, said, “I am not here to tell him what to do. I will make my statements to the Minister when he comes to Parliament and I will seek to whatever I can to assist the country, but the Minister has to spell out what he wants to do first.”
Richardson expects to continue the good working relationship he had with De Weever in the past as they both come from the same field.

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