New cabinet has been sworn in

HARBOUR VIEW–The executive responsibility for the governance of St. Maarten was placed in the hands of a new team of Ministers who were sworn in on Thursday, ending a transition period that lasted seven weeks.

Sworn in were Prime Minister/Minister of General Affairs William Marlin; Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Silveria Jacobs, who held the same position in 2012; Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour VSA Emil Lee; Minister of Finance Richard Gibson; Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication Irania Arrindell; and Minister Plenipotentiary Henrietta Doran-York.

Gibson will substitute for the Ministry of Justice and Marlin for the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI until the vetting of the new Ministers for these positions has been finalised.

Governor Eugene Holiday said that a lot had been said and written about the constitution during the past seven weeks and irrespective of which side of the debate one took, it was evident that the populace looked to the constitutional principles as the foundation for the handling of their affairs.

“Looking ahead, it is therefore important that we are reminded of the principles outlined in the preamble of our constitution, which says the people of St. Maarten are determined to work with each other,” he said.

“We believe in the principle of democracy. We believe in the rule of law. We believe in the entitlement of all individuals to the fundamental rights and freedoms. We wish to create a constitutional order based on an open and approachable Government and we therefore, to record our objectives and convictions, agree that the provisions of the constitution shall have the force of law.

“These are our constitutional principles. It is, as a result, our collective obligation to adhere to these principles and work together to improve the lives of our people. Anything else will go against the interest of the people of St. Maarten and that is unacceptable.”

He said the new team of Ministers was faced with the tasks of addressing the 2015 budgetary problems, preparing the planned elections and taking steps to introduce electoral reforms.

He expressed hope that the Ministers would work to fortify the constitutional principles aimed at improving the wellbeing of the populace.

“Accepting the position of Minister through the taking of the oath today is a solemn expression of your commitment to perform your duties with integrity. It is your pledge of allegiance to the King and the Kingdom Charter, it is your individual declaration to always uphold the Constitution of St. Maarten and it is your solemn affirmation to always dedicate yourself to foster the wellbeing of the people of St. Maarten,” Holiday said.

“Through your oath, you have accepted the obligation to serve all the people of St Maarten. The fulfilment of this obligation must be based on the principles of democracy, on the rule of law, on respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons and anchored in our determination as a people to work together.”

Holiday said there had been a shift in the majority in Parliament on September 30 creating the basis for the transfer of governing responsibility to a new team of Ministers. The transition period lasted seven weeks. He said he had consulted with various persons during this period and had named Marlin as Formateur to form a new Government.

Holiday said the path to transfer the responsibility for governance had not been without challenges. “Today’s [Thursday’s – Ed.] transfer follows a period of polarised, complex and tense political actions and constitutional debates,” he said. He wished the new Ministers wisdom, individually and jointly.

Source: The Daily Herald New cabinet has been sworn in