Governor calls on nation to vote


Every election is an important one and the January 22, 2010 parliamentary election is expected to be the last one for the Netherlands Antilles as a constitutional entity.

online casino

Persons elected to serve will be part of a historic process on the final leg where the country of Sint Maarten will be established, Governor Franklyn Richards who is also Chairman of the Main Voting Bureau, told the Government Information Service (GIS) on Wednesday.

"As Chairman of the Main Voting Bureau, allow me to emphasize the importance of the January 22 elections, when one takes into consideration the present on-going process aimed at assuming the status of country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands by October 10, 2010.

"Voting is embracing our responsibility to continue to provide and ensure free democratic values in our future constitution of country Sint Maarten as we depart from the Netherlands Antilles.

"All eyes are on Sint Maarten. Within the Kingdom and beyond, we are being looked at closely on how we are preparing ourselves to take over the status of country. The higher the turnout of voters to vote on January 22, the louder the message, that we are ready for country status. In 2006, 60 per cent of the electorate came out to vote. Let’s do better this time by sending the strongest message ever.

"There should be a high turnout of voters for this last election for the parliament of the Netherlands Antilles, thereby confirming our democratic sense at the eve of transformation towards assuming more responsibilities for our own future.

"This election is just as important as the day of 10-10-10, as it tells about our desire and preparedness to take on the responsibilities and obligations of country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

"On January 22, do your part. Exercise your democratic right to vote. Actively participating is a social duty, an obligation we owe not only to ourselves, but to our fellow citizens.

"Allow me therefore on this particular occasion that in principle reflects our readiness for our new status, to call on all eligible voters to come out and cast their vote, this Friday, January 22," Governor Richards appeal to voters.

In accordance with articles 38 and 39 of the Dutch-Antillean Voters Regulation (Publication Sheet 1989, No. 78, as amended), every employer is obliged to provide his or her employee, who is eligible to vote on Friday, January 22, 2010, at least four (4) consecutive hours off from work, between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., in order for that employee to cast his or her vote.

This obligation does not exist if the employee has four (4) consecutive hours off from work, within the hours in which he or she can cast his or her vote.

All persons eligible to vote in the upcoming elections, are asked to carefully look at their voting cards, before Election Day, and to acquaint themselves with the polling station in their respective district, at which they will be expected to cast their votes.

Voters should walk along with one of the following, either a valid ID card, a passport or a driver’s license and their voting card when going to the polls.

Article 134 of the penal code of the Netherlands Antilles states: "he who intentionally impersonates another person, and participates in a legally prescribed election, is punished with a prison term of a maximum of one (1) year".

The general public is also asked to take note of article 131 of aforementioned penal code, which states:

‘He who, during a legally prescribed election, obstructs a person from casting his vote, freely and unhindered, is punished with a prison term of a maximum of one (1) year".

With regards to outdoor rallies organized by political parties contesting Friday’s elections, it should be noted that the final day when public political meetings may be held is this Wednesday, January 20.

The taking of photographs inside of polling stations is not allowed; nor camera phones or video cameras. Cellular phones must be turned off prior to entering the polling station.

In the interest of a smooth transition of the elections, an appeal is made to the general public to contribute towards having the day transpire in a quiet, dignified and peaceful manner.

In contrast to previous years, no formal ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages on Election Day 2010 will be in effect. This measure had been established in the past with an eye on contributing towards a quiet and otherwise unhindered going about one’s business on Election Day and during the period that votes would be cast.

Notwithstanding, the objective of safeguarding a quiet and peaceful atmosphere on Election Day, remains unchanged.

The reason why there is no formal ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages on January 22 is that experience has shown that the measure was easy to circumvent but that the general public also conducted itself in such a mature and responsible manner, on past election dates, that the measure is not deemed necessary for Election Day 2010.

It must be emphasized that, on Election Day, voting at the various polling stations must be conducted in a neutral environment. Misuse of alcoholic beverage will, in any case, not be tolerated, particularly when this threatens the normal course of events at polling stations.