Today, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, former Member of Parliament (MP) Omar Ottley was ceremoniously sworn in as Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (VSA) at the cabinet of His Excellency Governor Eugene Holiday. Minister Ottley was put forth by the United People’s (UP) party as candidate minister after Chair of Parliament Rolando Brison withdrew his name as candidate Minister of VSA. After discussions of the screening reports during the past week, it was agreed that Ottley would be sworn in as Minister of VSA as originally intended. As part of the process, outgoing Minister of VSA, Richard Panneflek made his position available via letter to Governor Holiday on Friday, April 16, 2021.
Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs stated, “As Prime Minister and Chair of the Council of Ministers, I am grateful to Minister Panneflek for assuming the position of Minister of VSA at a crucial time and wish him much success in his future endeavors. We welcome incoming Minister of VSA to join the Council of Ministers during this very challenging period. We look forward to good cooperation in the execution of our governing program and handling of the ongoing health pandemic he will now inherit.”
Minister Ottley stated, “As incoming Minister of VSA, my top three priorities for the Ministry are tackling labour protection, the continuation of the island wide vaccination campaign and the completion of the St. Maarten General Hospital. It is also my intention to continue the collaboration with our French counterparts on a public health level to ensure that the management of the pandemic is synchronized in order to attain a full measure of “herd immunity” in the country. I look forward to serving the people of St. Maarten together with the Council of Ministers, my support staff and the entire Ministry of VSA.”