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You are here: Islands Islands News DP proposes short-term cabinet, electoral reform, election in a year

DP proposes short-term cabinet, electoral reform, election in a year

page3b122DP members Giselle York, Sarah Wescot-Williams (leader and MP) and Emil Lee.

PHILIPSBURG--Because snap elections will not solve ship-jumping amongst Members of Parliament, the Democratic Party (DP) says that if it boils down to elections having to be held in the country, the current majority coalition should be given a chance to appoint a “serious” cabinet for 12 months and mandate Parliament to complete electoral reform in a year so that this can be incorporated in the next elections.

DP leader Sarah Wescot-Williams said the party recognised that Governor Eugene Holiday was faced with two basic decisions. The first option is the formation of a new Government by the new coalition.

“We agree with the Governor that nothing stands in the way of this new formation. In the interests of the people, the DP believes that the objective screening of ministerial candidates for their skills and experience should be an equally important part of the approval process for new ministers. To this end, the résumés of the candidates for minister should be made public,” Wescot-Williams told reporters at a press conference.

“While the DP believes that as a political party it would benefit from a snap election, we believe that without electoral reform, new elections will not solve any of the fundamental issues that handicap Parliament’s performance.”

However, she said “in the unlikely event” a decision for new elections were still pursued, the DP would recommend annulment of the current motion to dissolve Parliament and that the majority coalition in Parliament choose “a capable Council of Ministers,” choose an election date of one year from the appointment of the new Council of Ministers and mandate Parliament that electoral reforms must be completed within that year and that reforms are incorporated in the next election process.

The DP also proposes supervision by impartial inspectors to monitor the next election to maintain integrity.

The DP said it shared the concerns of the public about the current political crisis.

“Clearly the country needs to see fundamental changes. However, new elections will only result in a shuffling of the cast of characters in Parliament, but without changes to the electoral laws, we will only be treating the symptoms of our political instability, but will fail to address the root causes of seat-jumping, leveraging of parliamentary seats for personal gain, buying and selling of votes, and political cronyism,” it said.

Wescot-Williams said the DP had consistently maintained its position on electoral reform, open government, improved transparency and accountability of Government and Government-owned entities.

“The fact that MPs [Maurice – Ed.] Lake, [Silvio – Ed.] Matser and [Frans – Ed.] Richardson have joined with the opposition to form a new majority is testament that confidence in the UP/DeWeever/USP/Marlin coalition has expired and that a new Government based on subscription to certain principles, amongst which those previously outlined, is what is most needed at this time,” she said.

She said the lack of direction and leadership from the UP-led minority coalition was sufficient grounds for the formation of a new Government.

“What period of inactivity is sufficient to justify a change? How much stagnation can the country endure? St. Maarten is a few days shy of the country’s fifth anniversary. The lack of action in the most critical areas for our people surely justifies a change of Government,” she said.

“The DP has for many years recognised that changes to St. Maarten’s electoral law are critical to the future success of our country. To date, the DP under the leadership of … Wescot-Williams has taken the lead on the process of electoral reform. Proposals have been made by the DP to reform the Electoral Ordinance, Ordinance on Party Registration and Finances, and the Rules of Order of Parliament.”

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