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New ministers sworn in, NA-led Govt takes office


page8A004HARBOUR VIEW--The seven-member Cabinet of Ministers and Minister Plenipotentiary of the National Alliance/Democratic Party/Independent 3 (NA/DP/I-3) government took the oath of office before Governor Eugene Holiday at his Harbour View office on Monday morning, effectively bringing the curtain down on the nineteen-month United People's (UP) party/DP/Patrick Illidge coalition.

Governor Eugene Holiday said this transfer from one cabinet to another was "a first and as such a new and educational page in the history of our parliamentary democracy. It is, following a period of uncertainty, the culmination of the official formation process of the past week and a half."

"Your decisions will have lasting influences on the lives of the people of St. Maarten," he told the ministers.

The new Council of Ministers held the first "constituting" meeting in Dr. A.C. Wathey Legislative Hall after the swearing-in ceremony. The main item on the agenda was the signing of the national decree establishing the substitution list for the ministers.

A reception for invited guests, including President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell (UP) and President of the Collectivité of St. Martin Alain Richardson, followed the meeting.

The new "Wescot II" Cabinet is led by Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams (DP) and Deputy Prime Minister/Infrastructure Minister William Marlin (NA). Marlin, a Member of Parliament, should resign from Parliament this week, because the two functions are not compatible under the Constitution. His seat in Parliament is expected to be taken up by former NA Island Councilman Rodolphe Samuel.

Wescot-Williams, Justice Minister Roland Duncan and Public Health, Social Development and Labour Minister Cornelius de Weever served in the former cabinet. They will be joined by first-time ministers Romeo Pantophlet (Tourism and Economic Affairs), Roland Tuitt (Finance) and Silveria Jacobs (Education, Youth, Sports and Culture).

Mathias Voges continues in his post as Minister Plenipotentiary in The Hague. He will be joined at the St. Maarten House by former NA Parliamentarian Henrietta Doran-York as Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary. Doran-York takes the oath today, Tuesday.

The NA/DP/I3 government will execute the "Working for the People" governing accord as agreed on by the coalition partners NA, DP and independent Members of Parliament (MPs) Frans Richardson, Patrick Illidge and Romain Laville.

In his speech to the new cabinet, the governor said the acceptance of the function of minister was "a solemn expression" of commitment to perform with "integrity, it is your pledge of allegiance to the Queen and the Kingdom Charter, it is your individual declaration to always uphold the Constitution ... to always dedicate yourself to foster the wellbeing of the people."

The ministers have "a great responsibility" individually and collectively through their oaths "to serve all the people ... on the principles of democracy, on the rule of law, on the principle of the division of powers, and on respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons," the governor stated.

He added that in keeping with the title of the governing accord, "The people will be looking to you for education, security, social and economic development and more. It is my hope and trust that as you continue the march, where your predecessors left off, that you will through the application of the principles of good governance answer the call towards the further overall and balanced development of our island nation."