Williams dumped

NNSL (DEC 20/96) - Three-year chair Merlyn Williams has been dumped from the Liquor Licensing Board, a move he says caught him by surprise.

"I was stunned, quite frankly. I still have no idea why, except that perhaps it's one of those political things," Williams said Wednesday.

He said deputy minister of public services John Quirke told him last Friday that a letter was in the mail saying his services were no longer required.

"It's no secret that Rosemary Cairns has been named to the position," said Williams (left).

Neither Cairns nor senior officials with the safety and public services department could be reached for comment.

A government official confirmed that Williams is no longer associated with the board, but would not elaborate on last week's decision.

Williams' term as chairman of the five-member board wasn't scheduled to end until next May.

"I know the position is appointed at the pleasure of the minister (Jim Antoine), but I would like to have a meeting with him to further discuss and debrief the situation," said Williams.

"I'm going to express some displeasure at the way this has been handled."

In September three of five board members were replaced before their terms ended, said Williams.

He's wondering if this has something to do with the board's transfer to the Department of Finance later this month.

"But I have to admit, I'm at a complete loss. There's been no reasons given, and I'm not prepared to really accept the decision until I receive notice in writing from the minister himself," said Williams.

The board is responsible for making liquor licensing decisions, such as the one made earlier this month to allow a 72nd drinking establishment in Yellowknife.

Williams said that, under his tenure, the board has made a number of improvements and changes to the way decisions are made, and he's proud of the board's accomplishments.