Dr. June Soomer.
PHILIPSBURG--Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Grisha Heyliger-Marten said that she looks forward to the presentation to Parliament by Dr. June Soomer during a meeting of Parliament’s Permanent Committee for Constitutional Affairs and Decolonisation (CCAD) scheduled for 2:00pm today, June 13.
“I am very pleased to have been able to arrange having an experienced and decorated scholar and diplomat like Dr. Soomer share her knowledge with Parliament and the people of [St. Maarten – Ed.],” Heyliger-Marten stated in a press release issued on Tuesday evening.
“My faction and that of MP Sarah Wescot-Williams have been in contact with Dr. Soomer since the latter part of last year and as a true Caribbean regionalist, Dr. Soomer has gracefully offered to combine her regional travel with a visit to St. Maarten. It is a privilege to have her on the island to share and exchange views on St. Maarten’s long-term sustainable development,” according to Heyliger-Marten.
Soomer has diverse experiences through her work in the diplomatic, financial and education sectors, obtained through over 30 years of academic and professional experience functioning at the managerial, operational and technical levels. She received her PhD from The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and has a sound understanding of contemporary development issues and continues to advocate for equality and equity in sustainable development.
Soomer currently serves as Chair of the Open Campus Council of The UWI, as a member of the United Nations Permanent Forum of People of African Descent and a member of the St. Lucia Reparations Committee. She served as St. Lucian Plenipotentiary Ambassador to the Caribbean Community CARICOM and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) with responsibility for Diaspora Affairs, was an OECS Commissioner and was the Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS).
Soomer has received numerous awards, in the areas of Central Banking, Education, Diplomacy, Regionalism, Development and Leadership. She is also a consultant and recently completed the Sustainable Development Plan for the Virgin Islands (British).
“During the public debate on the budget for 2023, I referred specifically to the Sustainable Development Plan for the BVI which was drafted by Dr. Soomer and unanimously adopted by the entire House of Assembly of the BVI,” Heyliger-Marten said. According to the MP, the plan combines sustainable development, capacity building, constitutional reform, public education and awareness, reparatory justice, and other important objectives based on the needs and wishes of the people of the BVI, in one guiding document.
“As I pointed out during the 2023 budget debate, the government of [St. Maarten] should use the BVI’s plan and approach towards addressing the nation’s needs and development as an example. I therefore look forward to constructive deliberations based on Dr. Soomer’s presentation, which will hopefully contribute to our nation’s sustainable development,” Heyliger-Marten concluded.