PHILIPSBURG – News that there are currently 13 political parties registered on island is being welcomed by the One St. Maarten People Party (OSPP), whose leader Lenny Priest opined this suggests the people of St. Maarten are disillusioned with the political parties currently forming the government.
“We have noted with interest that there is now twice the number of political parties registered on island and that 10 parties will contest the September 26 election. This is a first in the history of St. Maarten, and the leaders of these parties must be commended for wanting to help shape the future of their island. It shows democracy at work,” leader of the OSPP Priest said.
He added, “It also shows that the people of St. Maarten have taken stock and find themselves disenchanted and dissatisfied with the leadership they have been receiving and are sufficiently concerned to want to see a change. And who can blame them? Over the past several years St. Maarten’s ship has been captained by basically the same people and these captains have chattered us into some dangerous waters leaving us very anxious about the future of our island and particularly the future of our children. We cannot sit back and allow the lack of integrity, the class justice and the blatant greed that has prevailed to continue. It cannot be business as usual -the rich getting richer and the poor becoming poorer with the middle class practically disappearing.”
“The entry of these new parties into the race is the clearest indictor to me at least, that the people have asked themselves the hard questions: ‘how has my standard of living improved under the current leadership?’ Are we better or worse off? Can I continue to allow friendship or family ties to dictate that I make an x for a candidate that has openly demonstrated a lack of integrity which allows him/her to put personal profit before country?’ Can I vote for a person who while doing his or her job I obtained a bus or taxi permit or some other government permit and must feel committed to him or her? Can I support a party that has caused or benefited from the ship jumpers? The fact that today there are ten parties contesting the elections, including the One St. Maarten People Party tells us the answer to the questions,” Priest continued.
The OSPP leader said he has read the report of transparency international as it concerns integrity or rather the lack thereof in government, and is particularly concerned because despite a lot of lip service being paid there have been no concrete steps taken to remedy the situation.
“This tells me that our current government officials are more than happy to maintain the status quo, but we the people of St. Maarten believe it’s time for a change. We all want to have a steady stable government in place looking after the best interest of the island, and a government that is not riddled with questionable behavior, questionable and in some cases suspicious decisions and most of all a government that does not allow the outside world to label us a banana republic. So we welcome the new parties to the fray and wish them much success,” Priest concluded.