Democratic Party outlines its program’s route and the Party’s founding principles

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PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The DP’s 2016 draft political program is ready for review. The title of this document, “Building on the Foundations of Trust, Transparency and Togetherness” aptly describes the Red Thread through all the chapters of the program.

Some items appear again as they did in our 2014 program. And others are new or more pronounced in our 2016 program.

Ready for review means that the board of the party has to give its final stamp of approval, and the membership of the party, followed by the general public will be given the opportunity to offer input.

While the candidates of the DP in the 2016 election will be using this document to expound on the party’s plans, our candidates will not engage in “pie in the sky” politics. In other words, promising the world and having no clue how to achieve these things.

Yes, indeed political parties are required by law to include in their statutes the obligation to publish their political program in a timely fashion before the election. This is another indication of the legal obligation of parties towards the electorate.

However, I am convinced that the discussion about what the parties and prospective candidates want to do or think they can do, is the least important.

In the first place, a political program is not worth the paper it is written on, if we don’t understand or care to understand the workings of government. Equally, if we don’t respect the workings of government.

It would surprise the living daylights out of me, if one political party would get a majority of seats in the September election. No matter who says what. That means that parties will have to come together to form the next government for St. Maarten. So, what people need to know in my opinion is where parties stand on the different fundamental issues, and are the candidates in synch with their respective parties on these issues?

To illustrate, the Democratic Party in 2014 committed itself to St. Maarten on the basis of the following points of departure (objectives) in its statutes:

  1. To function as a Political Party for the entire community of St. Maarten, rejecting all forms of discrimination. (Anti-discrimination)
  2. To continuously seek improvement of the quality of life on St. Maarten and to give quality leadership in all these endeavors. (Leadership)
  3. To uphold and respect the constitutional rights of each individual in the community. (Equality)
  4. To promote the socio-economic welfare of the population of St. Maarten according to Christian, social democratic principles and ideals, the Party’s policies and principles. (Christian-social democrats)
  5. To do all that is possible to achieve greater economic opportunity for the island of St Maarten. (Economic Development)
  6. To promote social cohesion and patriotism amongst all inhabitants. (Unity and Inclusion)
  7. To protect the democratic fundamentals of the country’s legal and constitutional system. (State of Law)
  8. To raise the political awareness of the general population. (Empowerment)

We have distilled from these founding objectives, as well as taking the current climate of our community into consideration, priorities such as family and district empowerment; transparency and openness in government, THE ECONOMY!! The emphasis is on the economy and every facet thereof, as with a thriving economy, unemployment can be combatted, business can thrive, government revenue will grow, and opportunity will be created for social programs, education and health. With this balanced growth in all areas, the quality of life for all citizens will improve and a more harmonious work-life balance will be possible. A tall order, but achievable.

“Politics will not, cannot be changed by the politicians. No matter how many good souls feel they have the solutions because they say so, politics have to be changed from deep within the belly of our society. The politicians’ role is to educate AND lead by example.”