~ Justice Minister sets new records by becoming the highest vote-getter, PFP sails into parliament.~
PHILIPSBURG: --- The National Alliance emerged victorious at the January 2020 Parliamentary Elections with 4,694 votes of the 13,733 votes cast. NA took the lead from the very beginning which they maintained at almost all polling stations. Justice Minister Egbert Jurendy Doran set a new record by capturing the highest number of votes. Doran captured 843 votes while the leader of the National Alliance Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs scored 753 votes with number two candidate Christopher Emmanuel 687 votes. Former party leader William Marlin scored 345 votes.
The National Alliance secured 6 seats, the UP secured 4 seats, the USP 2 seats, the PFP 2 seats.
With the preliminary results that were announced at 4:30 am on Friday the Parliament of St. Maarten has a completely new make-up. The SMCP certainly did not secure a seat in parliament.
Of the 15 seats in parliament, only 11 seats were won while 4 seats were distributed to the USP, UP, NA and PFP.
The UP Party with its new leader MP Rolando Brison scored 3,232 votes. The number 4 candidate on the UP Grisha Marten Heyliger scored 656 votes while Brison scored 488. Newcomer to politics the number 3 candidate Omar Ottley captured 418 votes beating MP Bijlani and Mercelina. MP Bijlani scored 290 votes while MP Mercelina scored 248 votes.
The US Party led by MP Frans Richardson stayed the course by scoring 1,759 votes. However, the number 2 candidate Claudius Buncamper scored more than its party leader. Buncamper scored 301 votes while Richardson scored 212 votes with Akeem Arrindell with 229 votes Chanel Brownbill 224 votes.
Leader of the United Democrats Sarah Wescot Williams survived the race and it’s the only one that was reelected to parliament on the UD slate with 353 votes.
The newcomer to parliament is from the PFP with its leader Melissa Gumbs who secured 559 votes and Raeyhon Peterson with 219 votes.
Based on the outcome of Thursday’s election several MPs will not be returning to Parliament, they are USP leader Frans Richardson, MP Luc Mercelina from the UP and Wycliffe Smith from the SMCP.
Coming into Parliament are the following 15 candidates based on the preliminary results.
NA slate, Egbert Jurendy Doran ( 843), Silveria Jacobs (753) Christophe Emmanuel (687) William Marlin (390) Ardwell Irion (345) and Rodolphe Samuel (248)
UP slate Grisha Marten Heyliger (656) Rolando Brison (488), Omar Ottley (418), and Sidharth Bijlani (290).
The USP slate has two new members they are Claudius Buncamper (301) and Akeem Arrindell (229) while the PFP secured two seats its leader Melissa Gumbs (559) and Raeyhon Peterson (229) and Sarah Wescot Williams from the UD with (353).
Clearly based on the voters turn out on Thursday voters on St. Maarten are fed up and many of them made good on their treats when they said they were not going to vote. By closing the polls at 8 pm it was clear that the trend was maintained when the main voting bureau announced that the voters turn out decreased compared to 2018.
Of the 23106 eligible voters, a mere 59% cast their votes which amounted to 13744. The first hour when the polls opened the turnout was good but that quickly changed as the low turnout was maintained until the end of the day when the polls. Some felt the heavy traffic congestion to the seven cruise ships in port could have contributed to the low turn out while others felt that since workers did not get the mandated two hours to be able to cast their votes could have also been a contributing factor.
However, voters on St. Maarten expressed how fed up they are with politicians that were elected since 2010. Voters believe that St. Maarten has not grown over the years while politicians are the only ones benefitting with the high salaries and perks while in public office. Besides that, voters are also fed up with the constant calling of elections, 9 parliamentary elections in ten years. The January 2020 parliamentary election is the second since the passing of hurricane IRMA that devastated St. Maarten in September 2017, while elections are called that costs the taxpayers, homes and other public buildings are still not being repaired. One of those buildings is the country’s international airport.