Story by Andrew Dick/SXM News Room
PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Like any marriage, a coalition government can have its ups and downs, but whether the United People’s (UP) party and its coalition partners Member of Parliaments Frans Richardson (United St. Maarten Party), Leona Marlin-Romeo (independent), and Cornelius de Weever are headed to a divorce is left to be seen.
In recent days, there has been talk in the community about some UP members and other coalition members possibly breaking away from the 10-seat coalition to join forces with the opposition. No official or confirm information has been gathered about any pending break.
It is important to note that with a 10-seat coalition, any break to form a new government with opposition National Alliance (NA) with its four seats and Democratic Party (DP) with one seat will require no less than three members leaving the current coalition. A majority of eight or more seats in Parliament is needed to break the current coalition.
Sources say at least three coalition MPs not happy with UP leader MP Theo Heyliger. He is said to have made recent expansion of the coalition by adding Richardson of USP without informing all UP parliamentarians and have made other unilateral decisions about the functioning of the party. UP members are said to be attempting “to salvage the relationship,” before it become beyond repair. A number of coalition MPs are off island for various reasons. It is not known if this means they are meeting off island, as was done in the past to discuss the way forward in neutral territory.
The coalition government is still very much intact and functioning. Only when a letter withdrawing support for the coalition is issued by at least three coalition MPs to Governor Eugene Holiday can it be said the government has “fallen.”
The MPs forming the coalition are Theodore Heyliger, Maurice Lake, Johan Leonard, Franklin Meyers, Dr. Lloyd Richardson, Silvio Matser and Tamara Leonard of UP, Cornelius De Weever (Indept.), Leona Marlin-Romeo (Indept.) and Frans Richardson (USP).
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