MP Maurice Lake was also contacted and met with the Deputy Leader of the UPP last week ----DP has proposal ready in the event the Governor decides to call for new elections.
PHILIPSBURG:--- Leader of the Democratic Party Sarah Wescot Williams admitted on Thursday when she was asked by SMN News if someone contacted her on October 1st 2015, one day after the motion of no confidence was passed in parliament against the Gumbs cabinet where the person who called her made her an offer to join the UPP party in order for them to remain in government. Wescot Williams admitted that someone called her but she decline to say who it was that called her and what they offered her. Member of Parliament William Marlin said on Wednesday that while the Government sent a resolution to the Governor to dissolve the Parliament of St. Maarten some members of the United Peoples Party is still fishing to get other Members of Parliament to cross over to join them in order for them to stay in government.
SMN News also learnt earlier this week that MP Maurice Lake was contacted and he indeed met with the deputy leader of the United Peoples Party Franklin Meyers but declined their offer, however, MP Lake has remained mum and has not been answering his telephone when he was called for a comment on the meeting.
The Democratic Party called another press conference on Thursday to further inform members of the media of their vision and goals. Leader of the Democratic Party said that while they remain hopeful that the new coalition would be able to take office at some point she is still preparing for the other option which is new elections if called by the Governor of St. Maarten. Wescot Williams said the resolution submitted to the Governor of St. Maarten to dissolve parliament is not correct since the Governor has no legal basis to call an election now. However, she said should the Governor decide to call for new elections the Democratic Party has a proposal which they will further discuss with their coalition partners. That new proposal she said "Snap elections will not bring stability. Electoral reform critical" as perceived by the government of St. Maarten.
The Democratic Party has two choices on the table, one being they are in full support of the new coalition however they do recognize that the Governor is faced with two basic decisions. The first option was the formation of a new government by the new coalition. The DP agrees 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 resumes of the candidates for minister should be made public.
While the DP believes that as a political party it would benefit from a “snap election,” they also believe that without electoral reform, new elections will not solve any of the fundamental issues that handicap parliament’s performance. However, in the unlikely event a decision for new elections is still pursued, then the DP would recommend the following:
1. Annulment of current motion to dissolve parliament.
2. Majority coalition in Parliament chooses a capable Council of Ministers
3. Chose an election date of one year from appointment of new council of ministers.
4. Mandate to Parliament that electoral reforms must be completed within that year and that reforms are incorporated into the next election process.
5. Supervision by impartial inspectors to monitor next election to maintain integrity.
The DP has for many years recognized that changes to St Maarten’s electoral law is critical to the future success of our country. However, the DP under the leadership of former Prime Minister and current Member of Parliament, Sarah 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.
The DP shares the concerns of the general public on the current political crisis that faces our nation. 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.
While a certain amount of growing pains are to be expected, clearly there has been more pain than growth in the first few years of the young country. There is a saying...”if you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” The country needs real change, fundamental changes. The DP has not shied away from making necessary change.
Why is the DP part of the New Coalition?
The DP has consistently maintained its position on Electoral reform, Open government, improved transparency and accountability of government and government owned entities. The fact that MPs Lake, Matser and 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.
The lack of direction and leadership from the UP-lead coalition is 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.