The forecast is bright for St. Maarten as the island changed its status in October 2010 from an island territory of the Netherlands Antilles to an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. With this change, the Honorable Franklin Meyers was named the new Minster of Economic Affairs, Tourism, Transportation and Telecommunications.
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands will remain head of state, while The Hague will continue to be in charge of overseeing foreign affairs and defense. Furthermore, the people of St. Maarten remain Dutch nationals, with Dutch passports.
In his role as Minster of Economic Affairs, Tourism, Transportation and Telecommunications, Meyers responsibilities include:
• Social-economic development planning
• The development of employment
• The development and stimulation of the various sectors of the economy
• To offer recommendations pertaining to the harbor, airport, utility companies and companies that provide transport and telecommunication facilities and services
• The development and execution of economic regulations
“We are so pleased to have Minister Meyers at the helm of tourism. His leadership, in conjunction with the changes in new constitutional arrangements, will pave the way for increases in revenue which will be reinvested in the tourism infrastructure and marketing and allow for expanded economic development of St. Maarten,” said Regina LaBega, director of tourism for St. Maarten.
From 1999 – 2007, Meyers was a member of the Island Council of the Island Territory of St. Maarten; member of the Executive Council, holding the position of Commissioner of Public Health, Telecommunications & Sports; and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Smitcoms.
From 2007 up until his appointment as Minister, Meyers was Chief Executive Officer and shareholder of M&M Mortuary and Crematorium and Silverback Trucking & Construction.
Starting out with the oldest political party on the island, the Democratic Party (DP), Minister Meyers has been involved in politics for more than 10 years. This party was co-founded by the late Dr. Claude Wathey and Clem Labega more than 55 years ago.
Meyers became a member of the Island Council and a commissioner in the executive branch of government under the DP. After taking a break from politics, Meyers decided to join forces with Theo Heyliger, the grandson of the late Dr. Claude Wathey, to form the United Peoples party (UP) in the summer of 2010.
As the youngest party, the UP became the second largest party on the island after the September 2010 polls and currently is the largest coalition partner out of the two parties that forms the current Government of St. Maarten.
Meyers completed his high school education in New York. From there he went on to Miami Dade Community College and got a degree in Mortuary Science in 1991. In 2006, he achieved his private pilot license.
St. Maarten is the smallest island in the world to be shared by two nations, Kingdom of the Netherlands and France, creating a European-influenced vibe with a Caribbean flair. As “the culinary capital of the Caribbean,” St. Maarten offers an eclectic array of cuisine fusion for food lovers with more than 365 restaurants, one for each day of the year to satisfy the tastes of every palate and pocketbook.
Located at the northern end of the Lesser Antilles, the island’s 37 square miles has 37 breathtaking beaches and is home to many historical and family-oriented attractions. During the day, watersport enthusiasts can take full advantage of the island’s scuba diving and snorkeling facilities. The capital of Philipsburg offers duty-free shopping with a bustling city atmosphere, while 14 casinos and numerous nightclubs provide endless entertainment.
Accommodations are varied and include elegant private villas, family oriented resorts, quaint cottages and luxury spa resorts. Air service is available to Princess Juliana International Airport from numerous U.S. and Canadian cities as well as from Europe, South America and the Caribbean.