Published On: Mon, Jun 18th, 2018

New St. Maarten Cabinet to be sworn-in soon, vetting nearing completion

Leona-Romeo-MarlinPHILIPSBURG - The current Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin is on her way to becoming the country’s seventh head of state in four month shy of St. Maarten’s eighth year as a country-within-the-Dutch-Kingdom.

The Romeo-Marlin Cabinet, supported by the United Democrats/St. Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) coalition, is slated for swearing in by Governor Eugene Holiday in the coming days. The security and integrity vetting processes are nearing completion.

SMCP leader MP Wycliffe Smith is expected to resign from Parliament to become Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports, replacing current Minister Jorien Wuite. She heads to the Netherlands as the country’s new Minister Plenipotentiary. She will be joined by a new deputy Minister Plenipotentiary in The Hague – Michael Somersall (SMCP). Somersall will replace current deputy Hasani Ellis.

Smith’s seat in Parliament will be taken up by the next highest vote-getter on the SMCP slate – Claude “Chacho” Peterson.

The vacant post of Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunication will be taken up by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Primary School Principal Stuart Johnson.

The swearing-in is expected to happen just days shy of the four-month mark since the February 26 snap elections. It will also be days before the constitutional deadline of July 2 for current Public Health Minister Emil Lee to relinquish one of his dual posts – Member of Parliament and minister. A minister who becomes an MP is allowed by the Constitution to hold the two posts concurrently for a maximum of three months after taking the oath as MP. The country’s fourth Parliament took office on April 2.

Lee is expected to continue in his post as Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour and as deputy Prime Minister, thus giving up his parliamentary seat to the next highest vote-getter on the United Democrats slate who is not already in the legislature – former MP Tamara Leonard.

The candidate with the next highest number of votes is former MP Perry Geerlings. He, however, will not head to Parliament, but to the cabinet at the new Finance Minister, replacing current minister Mike Ferrier who took office in January.

Justice Minister Cornelius de Weever will continue in his post.

Also staying on in the cabinet is Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure Minister Miklos Giterson.

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