PM looks back at economic affairs stint

POSTED: 07/29/13 1:39 PM

St. Maarten -As he assumed office on Thursday afternoon, the new Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication Thadeus ‘Ted’ Richardson inherited tons of work; from business licenses that still need to be processed or cancelled to the arduous road towards the establishment of the St. Maarten Tourism Authority (STA). Richardson was sworn in on Thursday, along with the new Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary Josianne Artsen-Fleming by Governor Eugene Holiday at his cabinet.

The two are the final appointees for the new United People’s Party/Democratic Party/Laville coalition government with six ministers already sworn in on June 14. While Richardson’s nomination was being vetted, Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams deputized until his confirmation. On Friday she related that the workload at TEZVT Ministry is overwhelming. To be exact, Wescot-Williams functioned for 1 month and 12 days at the helm of the largest ministry in government.

“There was so much to be done; many requests for business licenses that needed to be processed and many heavily pending cases of government being taken to court by various businesses who requested concessionaires,” the leader of government said during her weekly radio show, ‘One on One with the PM’.

At the end of her tenure she requested information from the Licensing Department within the Ministry of Economic Affairs on the amount of business licenses that still need to be processed or cancelled. Those figures are still to be supplied but Wescot-Williams believes when it is tabulated, the government would be able to glean valuable information on St. Maarten’s economy; whether investors are coming or going.

On Friday she was expected to spend a great deal of time debriefing Richardson who is originally from Curacao. Her one regret is that she was unable to deliver an established St. Maarten Tourism Authority (STA).

“The STA is an issue that I had so wanted to finalize and just present to the minister so that he could then run with it. For the years that we have been speaking about it I could not explain why it is not a fact yet. The council has already decided on it but I know there are a lot of things to happen when you have such a huge transition to a semi-independent authority but we have been working on this from before 10-10-10 it is not totally finalized, there are drafts at the notary however,” the Prime Minister explained.

The prime minister concluded by wishing both Richardson and Artsen-Fleming well as they execute their various portfolios.

“Persons don’t realize the sacrifices anybody would have to make when accepting a political office,” she suggested.

While Richardson is getting settled on St. Maarten, Artsen-Fleming leaves the island Sunday via KLM for the Netherlands. She succeeds Henriette Dorian-York of the National Alliance.


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