~SMCP’s General Meeting informs public of its plans~
Great Bay, St. Maarten – On Tuesday, December 1, 2015 St. Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) attracted 200 people to its general meeting which was held at the Belair Community Centre. The objectives of this meeting were to officially present the party to the public, inform the attendees of the vision of the SMCP, and also highlight some of the priority areas of concern for the party. Introduced were board members, Mr. Wycliffe Smith (the party’s co-founder and President), Mr. Benjamin Bell (Secretary), Ms. Jacqueline Godet (Treasurer) and Mr. Elijah Singer (Board Member). Also introduced was co-founder, Mr. James Edwin Arrindell.
Mr. Smith expounded on the fact that the party was not a church party but a party established on Christian principles and values with the aim to restore the values to the St. Maarten society. In order to be effective, Mr. Smith explained that the party has to set priorities. Three of the priorities that he detailed are integrity, education, and crime. As it pertains to integrity, Mr. Smith explained the SMCP will tackle this issue first by example ensuring that their acts will be fair, just, and transparent. Also recommendations in the four integrity reports will be implemented and lastly they will ensure that the integrity chamber can commence its work.
Mr. Smith, a dedicated educator, quoted Nelson Mandela, recognizing that education is the most powerful tool that can change the world and thus is the most powerful tool that can change St. Maarten. He continued stating that there is a challenge in education due to a lack of vision and established national goals. Mr. Smith further stated that any innovation in education will be a waste of time and haphazard if it is not linked to national goals. He also stated that there is a gap between what is taught in the classroom and the reality that the students live and this will need to be addressed.
The escalation of crime is a major concern for the St. Maarten Christian Party. Preventative measures and sports programs should be implemented in order to funnel the energy of the youth that may be susceptible to criminal activity. He stated that educational programs are needed also for parents, where mothers and fathers to better understand their role in this issue. Also, strengthening the community police is one of the ways that the SMCP would like to combat the escalation of crime.
Though the manifesto was not officially presented, Mr. Smith was clear that SMCP is working on it. A questionnaire was made available to the public to give their input on what they thought would be important to include in the manifesto by way of topic and solutions. Also, there was a membership drive where the three memberships were explained: 1) Ordinary Member, who is at least 18 years old and eligible to vote, 2) Supporting Member, who is at least 18 years of age but cannot vote, and 3) Honorary Member, who has displayed exemplary service to the party and St. Maarten. There is a registration fee of $25 and monthly dues of $10. Also financial contributions were encouraged as the party is also raising funds in order to contest the elections.
Over 200 people attended the general meeting. Present were representatives of the Electoral Council, Mr. Bert Hoffman (President) and Drs. Linda Richardson (board member). Others present were Mercedes van de Waals-Wyatt and Peter J. Gittens, both leaders of recently formed political parties HOPE and MAP respectively. Both Mrs. Van der Waals and Mr. Gittens cosigned the letter to the Governor, along with Mr. Benjamin Ortega (SDM), Ms. Loekie Morales (Better SXM), and Mr. Smith (SMCP), collectively pressing upon him to allow the snap elections on February 9, 2016 to take place.
Other speakers and Mr. Smith repeatedly emphasized that the SMCP was created to serve the people of St. Maarten for a change. SMCP would like to thank those that came to gain more information. There will be another general meeting within short to update the public about matters concerning the party and its development. Volunteers are needed to assist the party . Should anyone like to volunteer or contact the party for inquiries or concerns, please email SMCP at firstname.lastname@example.org.