New St. Maarten government sworn in behind closed doors

POSTED: 05/22/12 12:02 PM

St. Maarten – The swearing in of the new government yesterday morning at the governor’s office in Harbor View passed in true St. Maarten style: while the local media were not even invited to witness the ceremony, Arthur Lugisse, the executive director of the Tallahassee-St. Maarten Foundation was seen entering the building with a press pass around his neck and a camera in his hand.
Local photographers lingered outside the office until the members of the new cabinet emerged shortly after ten thirty for a group picture with Governor drs. Eugène Holiday – a first in St. Maarten’s history. The governor’s speech reached the media via email.
While the swearing in ceremony was scheduled – according to a press release from the governor’s office, to start at nine thirty yesterday morning, Democratic Party MP Roy Marlin was the only one to arrive ahead of time. Prime Minister Wescot-Williams arrived at 9.35, followed by a caravan of cars and busses carrying the members of the new cabinet, Members of Parliament and, among many other dignitaries, the president of the Collectivité d’Outre Mer de Saint Martin, Alain Richardson and his wife.
“Accepting the function of minister though the taking of the oath is a solemn expression of your commitment to perform your function with integrity; it is your pledge to the Queen and the Kingdom Charter; it is your individual declaration to always uphold the constitution of St. Maarten and to always dedicate yourself to foster the wellbeing of the people of St. Maarten,” Governor Holiday told the cabinet-members.
The governor said that the ministers individually, and jointly as the Council of Ministers, carry a great responsibility. “Through your oath you have accepted the obligation to serve all the people of St. Maarten. This based on the principles of democracy, on the rule of law, on the principle of the division of powers, and on respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of all people.”
Governor Holiday added that the people will be looking at this new government for education, security, social and economic development and more. “It is my hope and trust that as you continue the march where your predecessors left off, that you will through the application of the principles of good governance answer the call towards the further overall and balanced development of our island nation.”
The governor pointed out that the decisions the government will take “have lasting influences on the lives of the people of St. Maarten. Thus as you deliberate on taking action on the matters before you during your governing period, I wish you wisdom in the conduct of your responsibilities.”
After the formalities inside the governor’s office, the members of the cabinet posed on the red carpet laid out at the building’s entrance for a historical picture with Governor Holiday.
Afterwards the action moved to the Government Administration Building where, according to an invitation from the department of communication, the signing ceremony of the new ministers was to take place at noon in the Claude Wathey Legislative Hall. But when reporters arrived at the scene well before the indicated hour, all formalities had already been concluded

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