Vincent Vanderpool-WallaceIn a stunning development, Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, will step down on July 7 to become minister of tourism and aviation for the Bahamas.

Vanderpool-Wallace served as the Bahamas director general of tourism for 12 years before becoming head of the CTO in 2005. He must step down from the CTO post to assume the Bahamas government position, according to the organization's bylaws.

An interim CTO secretary general will be named while a search committee will be charged with the task of finding a successor to Vanderpool-Wallace. His departure comes at a time when the Caribbean is grappling with critical issues, including an economic downturn in the U.S., spiraling fuel costs and reduced air service to the region.

Only last week, Vanderpool-Wallace was front and center at the first Caribbean Tourism Summit in Washington, calling for unity and partnership among the private and public sectors.

Vanderpool-Wallace's appointment is part of a major cabinet reshuffling by Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham. Neko Grant, who had served in the tourism post, will assume responsibility for public works and transport.

"I have decided to make certain changes that will contribute to even more effective governance over the months and years ahead," Ingraham said.

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