Home News Local news GOVERNOR WITHDRAWS BORNN'S NOMINATION AS TOURISM DIRECTOR

GOVERNOR WITHDRAWS BORNN'S NOMINATION AS TOURISM DIRECTOR

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Gov. Charles W. Turnbull has withdrawn the nomination of Michael Bornn to be Tourism commissioner, effective Nov. 5.
According to Bornn, Turnbull told him that he couldn't work with him.
"He (the governor) said he wishes me well, but felt he couldn't work with me," Bornn said.
Bornn has been outspoken about what the government and the tourism industry need to do to increase the number of tourists and boost tourism revenues.
The business community, particularly hoteliers, have applauded Bornn's candor and the direction in which he was taking the department.
Bornn said "I know I could add tremendous value to the Virgin Islands; however the political establishment is not prepared to deal with the truth nor implement the changes necessary to insure a vibrant economy and society."
The announcement dismayed many people in the hotel business.
Richard Doumeng, president of the St. Thomas-St. John Hotel Association said, "I hope it's not true."
"If we now tell our travel partners, who are already deeply concerned about our government's ability to market the territory, that there will be a fourth name placed as tourism commissioner in twelve months, it will be another blow to our credibility.
"This once again underscores the absolute need to de-politicize the Department of Tourism.
"The life blood of this economy should not be held hostage to the political process," Doumeng said.
As of Nov. 1 of last year Wylie Whisonant was the Tourism director under the Roy L. Schneider administration. Clement "Cain" Magras' nomination was rejected by the Legislature in April. Now, Bornn's nomination has been withdrawn.
John Murphy, general manager for Renaissance Beach Resort said, "I think this is a tragic sequence of events for our tourism industry, especially at this critical time at the beginning of season.
"This is a serious blow to our hopes and aspirations of the past two months."
Murphy expressed doubt anyone could step into the position at this point.
"I believe Michael had the leadership skills and the academic base to take tourism where it needs to go."
When asked what he was going to do, Bornn said, "I'm going to go back to making money."
No one at Government House could be reached for comment.

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