Valya Pantophlet switches government function

POSTED: 05/30/12 10:36 PM

GREAT BAY – Valya Pantophlet is leaving the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) to become policy advisor on Tourism to Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications Romeo F. Pantophlet. Pantophlet, who has already begun work for the minister, will officially end her term of service as the SHTA’s Executive Director on June 1.

Pantophlet began her five year tenure at the SHTA in 2006 as an intern. She returned to the organization in 2007 at the board’s request and worked her way through the organization. She started as from junior Project Manager and worked her way up to being Executive Director – a function she has held for the last year and a half.

“I have seen this island change governments several times with few politicians truly understanding the core issue affecting our economy and social ills, which we all agree is the underperforming tourism industry. Honestly, without SHTA I probably would not have understood the root of the problem either. Hence the reason I have been so committed to SHTA and its vision. However, at some point it gets tiring discussing the same issues/solutions and hearing our cries repeatedly fall on deaf ears, which is why I could not pass up this unique opportunity to influence change,” Pantophlet stated in her letter to the board.

The letter also includes a commendation to the SHTA for helping to shape her beliefs on how to change St. Maarten for the better and showing her the importance of getting involved in order to affect change. There is also a request for support in her new endeavor. That support has been “wholeheartedly and unanimously” given.

“Valya has been a great asset to SHTA. She has helped the association grow in so many different ways and we will definitely miss her. However, we understand and support her decision and we all wish her much success in this new endeavor,” SHTA President Emil Lee said.

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