Gumbs to become caretaker VROMI Minister, deputy PM | THE DAILY HERALD

Caretaker Minister Plenipotentiary Patrice Gumbs flanked by outgoing State Secretary Alexandra Van Huffelen, Minister Plenipotentiary of Aruba Juan Thijsen, and Minister Plenipotentiary of Curaçao Carlson Manuel following last Friday’s meeting of the Kingdom Council of Ministers.

PHILIPSBURG–Caretaker Minister Plenipotentiary Patrice Gumbs has been recalled from the Netherlands and will be appointed as caretaker Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI as of Tuesday, June 25.

According to a press release, Party for Progress (PFP) has taken the decision to focus its resources on the VROMI Ministry, in particular the GEBE crisis.

Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary Gracita Arrindell will fill in the function on Gumbs’ departure from the Netherlands.

Following Governor Ajamu Baly’s refusal to sign the National Decree to appoint PFP candidate Raeyhon Peterson as VROMI Minister, Minister of Public Health, Social Affairs and Labor Veronica Jansen-Webster has been acting as deputy in this position since the cabinet took office on May 3. In the coalition agreement, PFP also receives the role of Deputy Prime Minister, which will form part of Gumbs’ new portfolio.

According to a press release, a meeting with DUWO, one of the largest housing organisations in the Netherlands, has been arranged with the Cabinet this week to discuss the expected needs for St Maarten students in the Netherlands.

Gumbs also held discussions with representatives of the Dutch Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate on funding for energy transformation on St. Maarten and the recently concluded TNO report that has gone to the Second Chamber, this following up from his leading the St. Maarten part of the Kingdom delegation at the United Nations 4th Small Island Developing States Conference in Antigua in May.

Following the World Bank Trust Fund Steering Committee meetings held in Washington D.C. at the end of last month, Gumbs met with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations on financial matters and to devise a capacity plan for the government. He also held discussions with representatives of the French Embassy on matters related to the border between the two sides of the island.

As part of his final duties, Gumbs attended the Kingdom Council of Ministers meeting RMR last Friday for both his first and his last time, as well as the last of the current Dutch government. In his address Gumbs stressed the importance of continued cooperation within the Kingdom based on mutual respect, accountability and trust.

“Consideration has to be given by the Dutch to the small-island realities of a developing country like St. Maarten and what the Kingdom says abroad must also be reflected in its dealings internally; but, like in every relationship, we as St. Maarteners have to do our part as well and I and my government look forward to the opportunities to bridge this gap with the incoming Dutch government.

“While Kingdom relations remain a critical part of our agenda, especially as it relates to our financial stability, the current energy needs of the people call for urgent attention to this problem,” PFP party leader and Member of Parliament (MP) Melissa Gumbs said in a press release on Sunday. She said PFP believes Patrice Gumbs’ skills can play a critical role not only in addressing the current crisis but in instituting the necessary changes to strengthen VROMI.

PFP thanked URSM and Minister Veronica Jansen-Webster for their support during the past month.

Source: The Daily Herald