Mercelina to succeed Jacobs as Prime Minister – – News Views Reviews & Interviews

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PHILIPSBURG — Dr. Luc Mercelina will succeed Silveria Jacobs as prime minister in the new government that will be sworn in on May 3 at the office of Governor Ajamu Baly.

Mercelina will also manage the Ministry of General Affairs. There are a few surprises in the new team of seven ministers that form the new Council of Ministers though. Two candidate-ministers failed the screening: NOW-founder Christophe Emmanuel and PFP’s number 2 candidate Raeyhon Peterson. In May 2023, Emmanuel’s house and his workplace were searched by detectives, after allegations against the former minister of VROMI emerged. The Public Prosecutor’s office at the time stated that Emmanuel was suspected of abuse of position, fraud, forgery and accepting bribes. Why Peterson failed the screening is unknown.

The four parties that form the new government – Unified Resilient St. Maarten Movement (URSM), Democratic Party (DP), Party for Progress (PFP) and NOW (Nation, Opportunity Wealth) won the popular voted against the United People’s Party (UP) and the National Alliance (NA) by a margin of 14.8 percent. The coalition partners won 7,196 votes between them against 6,269 for the UP and NA. However, the NA was the party that won more votes than any other party by a wide margin; 3,455 voters put their trust in this party but it was not enough to make it a part of the new government.

In a press release (see below), Governor Baly announced the composition of the new Council of Ministers. Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs: Dr. Luc Mercelina; Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor and acting minister of Public Housing, Urban Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI): Veronica Jansen-Webster; Minister of Justice and acting minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport: Lyndon Lewis; Minister of Finance: Marinka Gumbs; Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication: Grisha Heyliger-Marten; Minister Plenipotentiary: Patrice Gumbs; Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary: Gracita Arrindell.

Two positions are still open: for the minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) and for the minister of Public Housing, Urban Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI).

The leaders of DP, PFP and NOW have issued a joint statement that clearly is an expression of their amazement about the apparent failure of Peterson and Emmanuel to pass the screening given that their names are missing from the Governor’s press statement. Mercelina’s URSM did not sign on to the press release issued by the DP, PFP and NOW party leaders. Instead a separate press statement was released by URSM on behalf of the Formateur.

Peterson, as the former acting head of Domain Affairs, would have been the logical candidate-minister for VROMI, which would leave the ministry of Education for NOW-leader Emmanuel.


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