Tuesday, Jul 23rd

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Editorial - All hands on deck

Today's news that the screening of two new prospective ministers was completed with success (see related article) is most welcome. Rumours had surfaced that this might not be the case for at least one of the candidates, which of course would have led to even more delay in the proposed changes.

Once formalised, the appointment of Raphael Boasman as Public Health, Social Development and Labour Minister as well as Ernest Sams as Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Minister will bring the cabinet up to its normal seven members, one for each ministry. This means Education, Culture and Sports Minister Rita Bourne-Gumbs no longer will be temporarily in charge of Public Health, Social Development and Labour in addition to her "own" tasks.

It also implies that current TEATT Minister Clarence Conner can move to Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI, now handled on an interim basis by Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs. The latter then can concentrate on his General Affairs portfolio.

In general, the UP-led Government headed by Gumbs is forced to deal with some pressing issues involving relations within the Kingdom of Netherlands. It concerns a budgetary instruction advised by the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT, the planned strengthening of law enforcement based on a protocol with Dutch authorities and the establishment of an Integrity Chamber, as also agreed on.

Implementing these matters won't be easy, as recent experience already has shown, so the pending reinforcements may help relieve some of the burden resting squarely on the shoulders of the current five cabinet members. Particularly Finance Minister Martin Hassink is in an unenviable position and probably needs whatever assistance he can get from his colleagues to navigate the country through what appears to be a financially difficult period ahead.

It's indeed high time to have "all hands on deck."