SAM ready for snap elections, will push to ensure place on ballot 

1656

 

SUCKER GARDEN, St. Maarten  – The Soualiga Action Movement (SAM) has been observing the slow-paced development, the discontent in the community and the deterioration of the island’s standing at home and in the wider world.

SAM’s team together with leader veteran politician and former minister/MP Franklin Meyers has been putting in the groundwork and preparing for a future election.

“The time came earlier than any of us, including the sitting government, could have anticipated. In spite of that, SAM is ready to take the challenge and run hand-in-hand with the people of this island,” said SAM leader Meyers.

The former Island Council member/commissioner had stepped back from the political arena after serving as a minister and member of parliament to focus on his health and well-being. It was Meyers’ hope that the island would continue its growth under those still on the scene. This has not been the case, prompting him and numerous like minds to think about the immediate and the future prospects for this once prospering island community.

“The core of SAM is the drive for sustainability for the island. Sustainability overall. We cannot build back an economy and not build its people. The progress of a country without progress for the people is no progress at all. We cannot think in terms of an invisible line cutting us apart; we have to think we are joined. We were before and are still one. We are Soualiga,” Meyers said of SAM’s core.

There is a dire need for maturity in the political arena, said Meyers. “We once had respect for each other. A person’s word was trusted and was their bond. This is no longer a norm, but the sad exception. Our reputation as an island is carried by the people who represent our home. We must show we’re serious and capable, first to our community and then the outside world,” Meyers said. 

“We are not in a failed state. We’re a rudderless ship; a ship that requires more than ever maturity and steadfast commitment to moving the island forward and out of rut we’re stuck in. There cannot be failure where there’s hope. SAM’s goal is sustainability, and this will come with maturity in thinking, planning and execution,” Meyers said.

“Borrowing the sentiment expressed by US political activist Angela Davis, we, as an island, must no longer accept the things that we cannot change. We must change the things that we cannot accept and SAM is that change,” Meyers said.

SAM, originally registered as St. Maarten Action Movement, is ready and has been building its momentum even prior to its formation and registration in 2019. To contest the upcoming snap elections, currently set for July 18, Meyers is busy with the administrative footwork. “Like I said before, no one could have seen the fall of the government in under three weeks. The process to elections as it stands may well lock out SAM from the ballot, but we are pushing to change this,” Meyers said.

The timing of postulation day does not comply with the six-week registration period for new parties wanting to contest the elections.

Article 16 of the National Ordinance Registration and Finances of Political Parties states political parties must submit their application for registration at least six weeks prior to postulation day or they will be ineligible to contest the next elections.

This push is not impossible or improbable. Ahead of the 2020 snap elections, the Party for Progress (PFP) petitioned and was granted the possibility to contest the elections.

“Our community needs a serious alternative in thinking and leadership. SAM will push to make sure it is there for the difference our community is looking for,” Meyers.

The Constitution of St. Maarten in articles 48 and 49 gives every person able to vote two of two separate rights: A right to vote for represent his/her representative in the Parliament of St. Maarten, and a right to run as a possible candidate for the Parliament of St. Maarten. “Therefore, we cannot have an election that is both forced on our community and that strips away basic rights, as enshrined in our Constitution, for a serious alternative for sustainability and maturity,” said Meyers.