St. Maarteners should be able to vote in next St. Maarten Parliament Election from wherever they res

Press release from the Foundation for St. Maarten European Affairs

Please provide me just a little space through your medium to be able to have a say on the article that was printed in The Daily Herald dated January 13, 2010 on page 4 under the heading: Immigrants to vote on Statia and Saba. 

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I have been thinking and analyzing this court ruling which was made on Bonaire to allow immigrants residing on Bonaire, Statia and Saba legally for five years or longer to be able to take part in the upcoming Island Council Elections for those public entities that falls under the Netherlands.

The court found that there is no justification to bar those immigrants from voting because according to the court, this would constitute unequal treatment under various international treaties. Just to look at the United States of America which is a world power or one of the most influential countries in the world. They have a law in place where you can only vote when you become a citizen or in other words obtain a U.S. passport to be able to vote. Persons that have a green card, which entitles you to be able to work is not allowed to vote in the U.S.A. My question would be to the United Nation if this does not also constitute unequal treatment under the same international treaties which I believe the U.S. should have with the rest of the world. Bonaire, Statia and Saba has just become special public entities of the Netherlands on October 10, 2010 and already there is a move to be able to divide and conquer these very small islands that is not in the position to sustain themselves. During talks on Lloyd’s show for that entire week there was also mention of whether St. Maarten would follow that trend by allowing immigrants living on the island for five or more years to vote for our parliamentary elections. There was much verbal protest about allowing this law to be enacted on St. Maarten and the outcry was that the St. Maarteners are already outnumbered by immigrants that have obtained their Dutch Nationality and can vote already, which therefore would put the immigrants in an even more influential position above the natives if this law should come to St. Maarten.

Let’s all be honest with ourselves and not hide our heads in the sand like the ostrich does and look at reality. If an immigrant decides to go to court for this same matter here on our island it does not matter whether the natives protest or not once a court ruling is laid down this decision would be also enforced on St. Maarten.

We as St. Maarteners has to learn to be a little more offensive and not place ourselves in a defensive mode by allowing issues to weaken us before we start strengthening our own people. My suggestion would be to start a campaign to allow St. Maarteners residing all over the world to be able to vote wherever they may be residing without having to come to St. Maarten, which sometimes is a problem for most of us living abroad. This proposal will put St. Maarteners back in the driving seat and allow us once more to become the majority voters for our parliamentary elections which I know can be done because this same scenario was introduced and put in place for the last European Union election for all the Dutch Caribbean Countries and is also done here on St. Maarten for elections in the Dominican Republic.

In other words Aruba and the then Netherlands Antilles were able to vote for a candidate on a party for one of the European Countries that Forms the E.U giving Europeans all over the world to have an input in electing their parliament which I feel our people should also be given that same opportunity to elect their own Parliament as well. We are making an appeal to all citizens, natives and naturalized to join me in appealing to our parliament by making an amendment to our constitution which would allow all St. Maarteners that has Dutch passport residing all over the world if possible to be able to vote wherever they are living.

The details and the administration that has to be put in place is a very simple one because our foundation for St. Maarten European Affairs were fortunate to have been involved with the last European Union Election and was privy to see the execution of the way the voting process was handled.

However we must start on a fact finding mission to ensure that that this proposal is within the context of the Kingdom Laws and can also be executed here on St. Maarten. Let us not fall asleep and allow other to divide us and in the mean time conquer this majestic country that God has given us.

If we do not protect it will all our heart, we will lose it to others and I want you to know that this is not such a difficult venture because already there are St. Maarteners that are calling for the Dutch and the French to take over our country because they do not see the bigger picture. Let us not divide but let us unite because united we will stand as a nation but divided we will fall and this is in the best interest for all of us. We can heal this land and make it a better place to live by being accountable to each other. We should especially hold each and every one of our elected officials accountable for their actions so we can work together to restore peace and harmony on our beautiful 37 square miles island.

This is the only piece of real estate that the St. Maarteners has so let us cherish it by working hand in hand and not selling out this country for a buck.

Having said all of the above if you agree with all that I have written in this article I would appreciate and would be more than willing to have you on board of this very vital mission by contacting me on Cell 522-1574 or by email: si**************************@gm***.com to start the discussions on realizing the above proposal which would give all St. Maarteners a say in their own country whether living here or abroad. I would like to at the same time wish all St. Martin citizens a happy, healthy and financially prosperous new year and hope that we would all come together to face the many challenges that lies ahead of us. I would also like to apologize to the many persons that meet me every day with their desire for me to get involved in the further building of this nation. Our foundation’s contribution is not to tear down but to build up and to from here on come up with solutions to the many problems that this country is being challenged with. For us we must all work together with and pray for this Government or any Government of St. Maarten to right the many wrongs that we have e.g. in the area of the rising crime, the rising cost of living, the rising corruption, the rising unemployment, the rising social issues, the rising immorality, the rising taxes on our people and many other areas that have been rising which is not in the best interest for our country where we can experience true equality for all our people which is according to the laws in our Constitution. May God continue to bless us.

Jeffrey Richardson

President, SxM European Affairs Foundation