Private sector dominates St. Maarten Tourism Authority

POSTED: 02/9/12 1:25 PM

St. Maarten – Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications Franklin Meyers said Wednesday that Chief Executive Officer of the Harbour Group Mark Mingo would have been aware that the proposed candidates for the St. Maarten Tourism Authority (STA) would be screened by the Corporate Governance Council if Mingo was present at meetings. The statement is a response to a letter that Mingo sent Meyers requesting that the minister determine whether the authority’s members should be screened.
“If the process is to be conducted, before we send any candidates to any advisory body or even to the minister for his approval we first have to select the candidate and had Mr. Mingo been present in most of the meetings, because one of the thing was that the harbour was conspicuously absent, he would receive the information, because that too was also discussed in the meeting. It is one thing to make your statements and make them publicly, but however you have to be part of the process also. Everything where it pertains to the St. Maarten Tourism Authority will be conducted according to the law,” Meyers said.

The minister’s reproach for Mingo was part of a broader announcement that agreement has been reached on the seven candidate members for the authority. Those candidates are Jim Rosen on behalf of the St. Maarten Timeshare Association, Lorraine Talmi on behalf of the St. Maarten Marine Trades Association, Emil Lee on behalf of the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association, Mark Mingo on behalf of the St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies, Tamara Leonard on behalf of the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Khalifa Hickinson on behalf of the Princess Juliana International Airport and Wendy Wathey on behalf of the government. Wathey is a realtor by profession.
“Once you’re on the STA, you’ll actually have to work in the benefit of St. Maarten’s tourism product and not the organization that you come from,” Meyers said.

The minister also announced on Wednesday that he’d changed the structure of the organization and how the representatives are appointed because the business in the hospitality sector are not all in one organization. The original idea was to follow Aruba’s example because that country’s hospitality sector is represented by the Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association. That won’t work here because of the splinter groups. Those facts considered Meyers proposed that instead of government appointing three members, the private sector appointing three members and then the six appointees nominating the seventh member that the private sector would nominate six members and the government would appoint one.
“This means that now you have a broader base from the private sector. You’ll actually have members that represent each of our recognized groups that have an organization,” Meyers said.

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