~ Richard Panneflek to take up deputy Minister of Plenipotentiary Post.~
PHILIPSBURG:--- The Chairman of Parliament Rolando Brison will give up his position in Parliament to take up the post as Minister of Health and Social Affairs (VSA). The screening process began last week after MP Omar Ottley court case against the Prosecutor’s Office did not finalize. Should Brison pass the screening he will join the executive branch of government to assist in taking the country out of its financial predicament. The Minister of VSA has the responsibility of assisting the unemployed through the Department of Social Affairs, the Minister is also able to assist the unemployed with medical health cards.
SMN News has been reliably informed that Brison opted to take up the position in order to better help the people of St. Maarten that are facing a labor and health crisis since March 2020 when St. Maarten got its first positive COVID-19 case.
Should Brison pass the screening process, he will become the Minister of VSA, while the current Minister of VSA Richard Panneflek will leave for the Netherlands to become the Deputy Minister of Plenipotentiary. Panneflek was screened as the Deputy Minister of Plenipotentiary but remained on St. Maarten when MP Omar Ottley failed the screening process due to an ongoing investigation.
If Brison is successful in becoming the next Minister of VSA then the number two candidate on the UPP list Dr. Luc Mercelina will fill the empty seat in parliament for the UPP faction. Dr. Luc Mercelina scored 249 votes for the January 9th snap elections.
In the executive branch, the UPP is responsible for two Ministries namely the Ministry of TEATT that is filled by Minister Ludmilla de Weever and the Ministry of VSA currently being manned by Minister Richard Panneflek. If Brison is successful in moving over to the executive branch he will also be able to assist the Minister of TEATT since Brison has a vast knowledge in the Tourism sector, he is also the head of the St. Tourism Bureau.
The decision was taken by the United Peoples Party (UPP) to reshuffle the executive branch came after MP Omar Ottley did not get any positive response from the Court of First Instance since he launched a case against the Prosecutor’s Office who informed him at the last moment that he was under investigation. So far, the Prosecutor’s Office has not informed Ottley what he is being investigated for neither did they tell the court. The hearing is scheduled to be heard again sometime in December 2020.