PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The board of the United St. Maarten (US) party on Saturday said the announcement by MP Akeem Arrindell that he was breaking from the US was a plan months in the making by the MP, and once again highlights the deficits in the country’s electoral structure.
The party board said it is unfortunate that MP’s do not have the same conviction to the truth as they have in their attempt to present a sympathetic picture to the public. The board said it is “not at all surprised” by the announcement since MP Arrindell threatened the board via letter in March 2021.
This threat to declare himself an Independent Member of Parliament came after the board tried to strengthen USP’s faction office in Parliament by way of staffing. In doing this, the board would also seek to address Arrindell’s lack-luster performance in Parliament by surrounding him with staff that can assist in meeting his goals and those of the party towards the public.
MP Arrindell, the board explained, wrote quite clearly that he did not require any help in the faction office and any attempt to address staffing would result in his resignation.
“This is why the MP’s announcement was not a surprise, but it was void of the truth. The lines of communications between the faction and the board were always open, and Mr. Cecil Nicholas was not President at the time of his comments made on November 18th 2021 as part of a general conversation as a host of The Review talk show and taken completely out of context,” the board said, adding that it wished MP Arrindell much success moving forward.
On a more serious note, the board pointed out that the number of factions currently in parliament does signify a serious flaw in the current electoral structure “There hasn’t been an MP that has gotten enough votes to secure his or her seat out right in recent electoral cycles, seats have been won based on the collective votes of the political party. This coupled with the issues of government instability that we’ve had as a country since 2010 highlights a deficit with regards to political accountability to the electorate,” the board said.
The board pointed out that political party’s platforms and positions on motions presented in Parliament are negated by the oath taken by MPs to vote their conscious after running on and promoting the parties platform presented to the people during election campaigns. “The party is undemocratically put in a position of weakness because it cannot hold individual MPs accountable for taking positions in contravention to the party’s platform as presented to the electorate.,” the US board said.
It continued: “The negative impact on the country due to declarations of independence by members of parliament over the past 10 years has undoubtedly had a negative effect on the country’s growth potential. As a country we must be mature enough to identify deficits in our electoral structure that impact us negatively, and be creative in finding ways to address them.”
Progress and continuity, the board added, should not be held hostage by individualism while the electoral process emphasis is on party manifestos and platforms. It opined that political parties should have recourse when members of Parliament representing party factions find themselves at odds with the parties and by extension the supporters of the parties that they represent, unless they won their seat outright.
“The debate has been exhausted, it is time to act on electoral reform to address declarations of independence as the order of the day, especially since resignations from parties is never based on genuine principled concerns or country issues,” the board concluded.
The board said it remains focused on its restructuring and planning for the country and the next electoral cycle.