DH | New and cost-efficient housing for Cabinet of Minister Plenipotentiary

The front of the new building in which the Cabinet of the St. Maarten Minister Plenipotentiary has been housed since July | Suzanne Koelega

THE HAGUE–Nine years after taking up residence in its first housing on Bezuidenhoutseweg, the Cabinet of the St. Maarten Minister Plenipotentiary moved to a new, more central and cheaper location on Prinsessegracht in July this year.

Moving to the four-storey historic building at Prinsessegracht 7, located next to the Ministry of Finance, was not only smart in terms of cost-effectiveness, as the rent is lower than the previous housing, but is also more efficient because it is closer to The Hague’s political centre and central station.

Minister Plenipotentiary Jorien Wuite and her staff of eight are very happy with the move. “Moving made a lot of sense. We are now closer to the action. The accessibility is better. The rent is lower and the building itself is more energy-efficient,” Wuite told The Daily Herald.

The St. Maarten government’s limited finances were taken into consideration, and barely any new furniture was bought; furniture was simply moved from the old to the new location.

The upper two storeys of the 500-square-metre building are used as workspace, while the main floor serves as meeting and event room. The underground area is being fitted to showcase St. Maarten where businesses and organisations can present and promote their products and services. It offers sufficient space for presentations, economic and promotional activities. Students are welcome to work there. “The idea behind the concept is for and by St. Maarten,” said Wuite.

Besides new housing, the Cabinet is also working on a stronger, efficient internal organisation. Carol Voges has been appointed new Director of the Cabinet per August 1. Two new persons will be hired, both part-time to cover finance and economic affairs at the Cabinet, the position Voges left. The Cabinet is also looking for a new legal expert.

According to Wuite, the Cabinet is in the process of establishing a platform for the St. Maarten diaspora. More details will be announced at a later date. Furthermore, the Cabinet wants to partner with St. Maarten businesses and organisations for the pre-SMILE event it will host on September 11 to promote St. Maarten in the Netherlands and to help diversify the island’s economy.

The 2019 St. Maarten Innovation Initiatives and Industries Link-up Event (SMILE) will take place in St. Maarten on October 25 and 26.

Wuite also proudly announced that she will be one of the four ambassadors of Black Achievement Month, an annual one-month awareness event in October to showcase black talents and to dedicate attention to black culture and history.

Black Achievement Month, under the leadership of its Director John Leerdam, keeps growing in popularity and the multiple events draw more visitors each year. The highlight is the evening of the Black Achievement Awards. As ambassador, Wuite will be promoting Black Achievement Month and giving face to this important event.

Bron; Daily Herald

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