USP’s manifesto released, urges public to believe in St. Maarten

Leader of the USP Frans Richardson (second from left) presents the first copy of the party’s 2016 Manifesto to Shirley Richardson of the Philipsburg Jubilee Library in the presence of students from the St. Maarten Academy.

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Leader of the United St. Maarten (US) party MP Frans Richardson on Thursday presented the first copy of the party’s 2016 Manifesto to representatives of the Philipsburg Jubilee Library, in the presence of students from the St. Maarten Academy who just happened to present at the same time of the presentation.

Richardson told the students, who were working on a political project for school, that he was honored that they could be the first to see the manifesto. The students in turn was happy to see Richardson because they needed some items from the party for their school project. The MP pledged to help and wished the students well.

He described the manifesto as “44 pages of content that we hope will give the people of St. Maarten better insight into USP’s vision for our beautiful country,” He said the presentation to the library was extremely important for the party since it will be a place where the public, including students, will be able to peruse the document for their educational and informative purposes.

“We want our people to provide feedback, read it, scrutinize it, help us refine our ideas and policy proposals so that we could be confident moving forward knowing that we listened to our people,” Richardson said.  In the opening remarks of the manifesto Richardson said as a result of the chaotic and unstable years that St. Maarten has had since obtaining its new constitutional status on October 10, 2010, “many of our people attach a negative image to the words “Political Leadership”. These words, and what they are supposed to mean and represent, ring hollow for a people that have lost confidence in their leaders. Members of our community do not believe in the promise of a fair opportunity to create a better a life for themselves and their families. We know it, we can see it, we can feel it.”

He went on to note however that USP, when given the opportunity to govern, have shown that “we are committed to restoring the balance of power in favor of the people. What does that mean? If as leaders we want to implement policies for positive change, you have to embrace the opinions of others to determine how these policies will affect our people. Public opinion, though not always constructive, is powerful because these are thoughts of the people you serve. These are the people you lead. A leader does not run from this.”

In the context making the manifesto available to the public, Richardson continued: “We believe that a good a political leader must have the very best evidence-based policies developed, by listening.  He or she then requires the empathy, political strength and leadership to articulate and implement these policies in an inclusive and effective way that results in real positive change. If a policy is poorly executed through a failure of leadership, then it is as good as useless. The USP, from the board to the political leader, to the candidates to the membership, offers a family of leaders prepared to include one and all and develop policies that will ensure a better quality of life.”

We do not buy into the popular notion that St. Maarten, once a booming and progressive island, has fallen so far behind that it is too late to turn things around. We simply have to find the will to bridge the many divides in our community and work with a unity of purpose. We must capitalize on the dynamism that characterizes our people, our youth, our entrepreneurs and our businesses. We believe in St. Maarten. We want our people to continue believing in St. Maarten.

He stressed that the manifesto contains no magic formula or lavish promises and it is not a recipe for an easy or a perfect life. But it sets out a broad framework for the recovery of the island. It covers among other things sustainable development, economic development, tax reform, solid waste management, clean energy, education and even animal welfare.

The manifesto will be uploaded the party’s Facebook page and available from any of the candidates. Interested persons can email the party: to obtain a copy or message the party via its Facebook page ( to obtain same. The manifesto will also be presented as stipulated to the Electoral Council.