Missing in action is a total and broadly carried vision for St. Maarten

Member of Parliament Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams
Member of Parliament Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams

Not unlike elections before, there is no shortage of “plans” during this campaign leading up to the September 2016 election. Plans and ideas of individual (prospective) candidates are now surfacing at least one every day. And there is basically nothing wrong with this. Anyone is free to “share” his/her ideas.

However, it would be much more revealing if these ideas were part of the vision of the party that the candidate represents. Parties are required by law to publish a party program. How do individual candidates’ plans align with these programs? How realistic are these desires of candidates?  How do individual candidates’ statements align with the party they could potentially come to represent in Parliament?

It is a fact that overall, we lack cohesiveness in our planning for the country. Furthermore, where there currently already are plans, these are often times guarded and shrouded in secrecy. How refreshing would it be if e.g., the plans for Philipsburg were shared with the public at large from the planning stages? The current government building, the post office building, the old fire station. If you speak to 5 persons, there are 5 “plans” for these buildings.

With government plans made public, businesses can plan, entrepreneurs can start to think of a business niche that they can engage in.

The same holds true for Cole Bay and Simpson Bay. The recent invitation by Government for bids to upgrade from Welfare Road down to Simpson Bay is a worthwhile initiative, but the public at large should know what government envisages for this “strip” and not leave it up to solely to the contractor with the “best” design. I know what I would like to see: sidewalks of course, a promenade, road side seating, lighting, etc.

Why have discussions with stakeholders for an economic plan that has yielded nothing tangible?

What is the holdup with the National Development Plan for St. Maarten? These are but some of the questions on people’s minds, especially the persons who participated.

In addition to stability in government, a government of leaders with their noses pointed in the same direction would be a welcomed shift in the way we do government business on St. Maarten. Simply put, we need a common vision for St. Maarten that can be shared with the people to bring back the trust in government.

We need a change alright! A change of climate….in our community; in our streets; in our government, in our schools, etc.

The foregoing is to stimulate a discussion on party programs, candidates’ loyalty and the actual workings when these translate into seats in parliament and potential representation in government.

Sarah Wescot-Williams, MP

DP Leader