Monday, May 20th

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Editorial - The necessary guidance

The names of two proposed new ministers who are to complete the current Gumbs cabinet of five and reach the normal seven members have been leaked (see related story). It reportedly regards former GEBE employee Ernest Sams and labour mediator Raphael Boasman.

Sams is to occupy the portfolio of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT), so that Claret Connor can move on to Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI. Boasman is to take over Public Health, Social Development and Labour, now handled on an interim basis by Education Minister Rita Bourne-Gumbs.

Boasman obviously knows the ropes within the departments for which he would be responsible, although being a veteran high-ranking civil servant and active in politics conceivably can prove a drawback due to things that may or may not have happened in the past. Based on his acquired experience and knowledge in government he certainly seems – at first glance – like a good fit.

Placing somebody who worked at the local utility company in charge of the tourist economy probably will raise some eyebrows. However, it must be kept in mind that GEBE employs not only technicians, but also plenty of other personnel in managerial positions, etc.

Moreover, public administrators don't have to be experts in the fields under their authority, but rather good managers with clear policy intentions and able to work within set budgets. As such, both candidates – should they pass the screening and be appointed – deserve the benefit of the doubt.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating and where TEATT is concerned a first order of business would appear to be getting the long-awaited St. Maarten Tourism Authority (STA) back on track, after several board members resigned. That also will help ensure the necessary guidance from leading professionals in the hospitality industry and probably turn out to be in the best interest of both the new minister and society in general.