United St. Maarten party: Democratic deficit is a slippery slope to authoritarianism

President of the United St. Maarten Party Board Mr Cecil Nicholas


PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The Board of the United St. Maarten Party expressed concern over the newly developed culture of the NA/UP Coalition to casually, but consistently systematically maneuver around the core principles of democracy. “They seem to be taking the country and it’s people down the shadowy pathway to an authoritative state,” said President Cecil Nicholas.

Nicholas in an invited comment said, “democratic principles such as equality, political tolerance, accountability, and transparency are currently being clouded by polarized political rhetoric and decisions that place individualistic idealism above the greater good of the country. Further stagnating the development and growth of the country and its citizens.”

“The oath taken by an MP to vote their conscious and the parliamentary rules of order are conveniently being used as a tool to create smoke screens that allow questions from the political minority/opposition to go unanswered for months if not indefinitely. Parliament has become void of checks and balances,” said Nicholas.

Good governance and solution orientated parliamentary proceedings have been replaced by political maneuvers to safe guard the survival of the Coalition ; leaving the people of this country in a never ending cycle of confusion and turmoil. Setting the stage for what seems like authoritative governing practices being exercised on a select few.

“Equality has been replaced by victimization. Some of our brightest minds have had their careers destroyed, or have been tossed aside because they didn’t fit in this new political design being constructed by the NA/UP Coalition . Their sole agenda seems to be aimed at being the longest lasting Coalition since 2010 at any cost,” continued Nicholas.

Mr. Louis Browm, Mr. Kenrick Chittick, Miss Iris Arrindell, Miss Veronica Webster, Mr. Dexter Doncher, Mr. Mikey Hyman, Mr. Rene Guishard, Minister Roger Lawrence, and Mr. Anthony Carty, not to mention countless others who have resigned from top positions within the government apparatus, have all been victimized by this continuously evolving governing style.

One of the conditions agreed to by the NA/UP Coalition in exchange for liquidity support was a 12.5 % cut in benefits to public sector employees including government owned companies and teachers.

The application of the 12.5% cut which was supposed to be done in solidarity across the board, was never equally applied, and has now mushroomed into the infamous issuance of vacation pay allowance for public school teachers and no official written instruction to the boards of subsidized schools to do the same. The application of democratic principles does not allow for inequality and what has been transpiring over the past two and a half years can only be coined as a shift from democratic principles to do as I say authoritative style of governing.

Nicholas lamented, that the lack of accountability and transparency on the current pressing issues at GEBE, so called “national security threat” by MP De Weever does not in my opinion highlight the short comings of one minister, but the failure of the entire NA/UP Coalition . “One cannot govern in a vacuum, there must be cohesion unless you are governing by principles that fall outside of democratic norms. Covertly operating as an Authoritative state will not be tolerated as it goes against our constitution. In addition to what looks like selected victimisation, attempts have already been made to muzzle the freedom of the press and whistle blowers are being punished for trying to protect the integrity of institutions where they are employed.”

“The board of the United St. Maarten Party is keeping a keen eye on any attempts to limit, dictate, or direct economic freedoms, another important pillar of democracy and encourages anyone who falls victim to this pattern of behavior to speak out,” said Nicholas

“The fact that a selected group of professionals seems to have been targeted and others resigned from their post in grave numbers under this NA/UP Coalition cannot be overlooked. Especially since none of their actions have lead to increased integrity or measurable improvement in the principles of good governance at any government owned company or the civil core since the emergence of this new style of governing. On the contrary things have gotten worse,” continued Nicholas.

History teaches us that dictatorships fail, whether by design or through outside influence, no matter how long they manage to retain power. While a select few benefit from this style of governing the majority of the population suffers, as is evident right now.

“The principles of democracy is our constitutional right and they must be adhered to at all-times. Equal treatment, political tolerance, accountability, transparency, freedom of the press and economic freedoms are some of the most important pillars of any democracy. Deviation to this new style of authoritative governing has lead to the incubation of bigger more detrimental problems that cannot be solved with highlights of minor accomplishments while our brightest are displaced and the majority of our citizens live in fear,” concluded Nicholas.