Philipsburg:--- The Governor of St. Maarten drs. Eugene Holiday swore in the third Government of country St. Maarten on Friday afternoon at his office. Six of the seven Ministers took the oath in front of the Governor while the Minister of TEATT is yet to be vetted and sworn in.
The Ministers that took the oath were: Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams who went through the same procedure for the third time since St. Maarten became a country and Cornelius De Weever who is now part of the third government since 2010. The incoming Ministers are former Lt. Governor Dennis Richardson who left his job in the Netherlands to take up the position as Minister of Justice on St. Maarten, Patricia Lourens as Minister of Education, Youth, Sports, and Culture, Maurice Arnell-Lake Minister of VROMI, Martin Hassink Minister of Finance, and Mathias Voges Minister of Plenipotentiary. It is not yet known who will be the Minister of TEATT, the position is still empty because Romaine Laville failed the screening process to become a Minister.
At the swearing in ceremony were the relatives of the six Ministers, MPs Gracita Arrindell, Roy Marlin, and Romaine Laville. Among them was the leader of the United People's Party Theodore Heyliger.
The swearing in ceremony came weeks after the country went through its third political crisis when Laville and the two DP Members of Parliament pulled their support from the NA/DP/I-3 coalition government.
The former Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin contested the installation of a third government by submitting a Landsbesluit based on article 59 of the country's constitution to have the Parliament of St. Maarten annulled. The Governor in a letter to Marlin said that he wants Marlin and the other outgoing Ministers to take the LB to the Parliament of St. Maarten for ratification before he signs it. This is in contradiction of the rules of order that governs the governor which gave five reasons that forbids the governor from signing an LB. Article 21 of the rules of order of the governor states that if the governor feels that he has a problem signing an LB then he must send it to the crown for approval.
SMN News learnt that the previous Ministers from the National Alliance faction sent a letter to the Council of State and to the crown pointing out the various constitutional errors that took place throughout the process.
Click here to view more photos of the New Ministers after the swearing-in ceremony.
Appointment and Swearing in of Ministers and Minister Plenipotentiary.
Harbour View:--- On June 14, 2013, His Excellency the Governor of Sint Maarten, drs. E.B. Holiday, officiated the appointment and administered the oath of office to the Ministers and the Minister Plenipotentiary of the new cabinet.
All Ministers have met the regulatory requirements and they have been appointed as follows:
- Mrs. Sarah A. Wescot-Williams, Prime Minister, also Minister of General Affairs
- Mr. Dennis L. Richardson, Minister of Justice, also Deputy Prime Minister
- Mr. Maurice A. Lake, Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure
- Mr. Martinus J. Hassink, Minister of Finance
- Mrs. Patricia D. Lourens-Philip, Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports
- Mr. Van Hugh C. de Weever, Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour
- Mr. Mathias S. Voges, Minister Plenipotentiary
Mrs. Sarah A. Wescot-Williams will also act as Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication temporarily.
In the UP/DP Governing Accord, integrity, transparency, reduction of bureaucracy and efficiency and service have been specified as focal points for the remaining governing term. Together with economic diversification, fiscal reform and simplification, social safety nets, job creation, training, poverty alleviation, community and infrastructural development, legislative focus, electoral, labour and immigration reform, national insurance and the completion of the reorganization of the Justice Ministry as focal issues for Sint Maarten, the governing accord will be executed as agreed upon by the coalition partners United Peoples Party, Democratic Party and the independent Member of Parliament Romain Laville.
During the official ceremony which took place at the Cabinet of the Governor, the Governor stated after the swearing in:
"You have just witnessed the transfer of executive responsibility for the governance of our island Sint Maarten from one team of ministers to a new team of ministers. A new team of ministers that was presented to me thanks to the work of formateur Ms. Wescot Williams following a path which was not without challenges. En route to the transfer, the strength and resolve of our nation has been put to the test. And a new chapter has been written in the constitutional history of our young nation and parliamentary democracy.
Today, six weeks after the start of the political developments that brought us to this point and three and a half weeks since the previous team of ministers made their positions available we have before us a new team of ministers. A lot has transpired in that six weeks period, some of which has given rise to some critical questions and requires that politicians take a good look in the mirror. Developments that have caused me, in my capacity as Governor of Sint Maarten to appeal to all stakeholders to do all that is necessary to maintain and protect the integrity of our constitutional democracy. I did so drawing from the words of the preamble to our constitution, namely:
We, The people of Sint Maarten, in order to record our objectives and convictions agree that the provisions of the constitution shall have the force of law. Today I wish to highlight some of our ideals as recorded:
- The first ideal being our determination as a people to work with each other;
- The second ideal being our declaration that we are a people that believe in the principle of democracy, in the rule of law, .... and in the entitlement of all individuals to the fundamental rights and freedoms;
- And the third ideal being our declaration that we wish to create a constitutional order based on an open and approachable government.
As a result we have no option but to work towards these ideals, as anything else will go against the general interest, that is against the interest of the people of Sint Maarten.
In monitoring recent political developments and looking ahead I am concerned about the increased divisiveness and accusations as well as about the increasing questions about this nations commitment towards mentioned ideals. Let me in that regard say that, I am sure, that is not what the people of Sint Maarten want. I say this, because of my firm belief in the good of the people of Sint Maarten and because I am particularly pleased and encouraged to see the increased level of involvement of and debate among the people of Sint Maarten regarding political developments during the past weeks. I therefore challenge you as the new team of ministers, as you assume your mandate to govern this beautiful country, to make the further building on the realization of our ideals your priority.
Accepting the function of minister through the taking of the oath today, is a solemn expression of your commitment to perform your function with integrity. It is your pledge of allegiance to the King and the Kingdom Charter and it is your individual declaration to always uphold the Constitution of Sint Maarten and to always dedicate yourself to foster the wellbeing of the People of Sint Maarten. In that regard, there rests on you individually as ministers and jointly as Council of Ministers a great responsibility. Through your oath, you have accepted the obligation to serve all the people of Sint Maarten. This based on the principles of democracy, on the rule of law, ...... and on respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons and anchored in our determination as a people to work together.
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 to unite the people towards the further overall and balanced development of our island nation. This hope and trust comes from my firm belief in the good within and strength of the Sint Maarten people.
Your decisions will have lasting influences on the lives of the people of Sint Maarten. Thus, as you deliberate on taking action on the matters before you during your governing period, I wish you wisdom, individually and jointly, in the conduct of your responsibilities as you seek to meet your constitutional responsibility to the people of Sint Maarten.
With that in mind, I hereby congratulate the people of Sint Maarten with the installation of this new government and similarly congratulate each of you individually and jointly with your appointments as Prime-Minister, Ministers and Minister Plenipotentiary.
Thank you, God Bless you and God Bless Sint Maarten".
Press Release from the Governor's Cabinet