Prime Minister Concerned Over Rumors Concerning Election Fraud

PM: "There must be a certain understanding amongst political parties regarding the ensuring of fair, free and open elections"

The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams Expressed her concerns over plans to use dummy ballots during the upcoming elections, which would essentially be election fraud; "I have been hearing rumors regarding alleged plans of persons circumventing the fact that if Government decided to remove the black curtains they would utilize a dummy ballot in order to get in their first ballot and then subsequently use their ballot in order to increase votes. I am very very concerned about this. The scariest part is that there are in fact people that may be thinking this way. That is why it is important that we should educate the people. If we address the black curtains issue we cannot have it too easy or persons to be unfair", stressed Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams.


The Prime Minister also stresses the need to address some of the issues that the Parliament of St. Maarten brought forward as far as electoral reform is concerned; "I indicated to Parliament that many issues that were brought forward by Parliament are based on the premise based on the constitutional obligations to make sure that elections are fair and free. As a result of our constitution you have a very important tool as far as elections are concerned and that is the electoral ordinance. I saw where the possibility existed to look at the matter of our electoral ordinance and make some amendments. However changing the ordinance will take some time and some of the proposals we have been thinking of have been sent to the Council of Advice. We have taken the proposals as I presented them to Parliament and asked the Council of Advice to respond on them. Regarding the Electoral Ordinance you also have some general decrees including how we should regulate the voting booth or the voting locality. Within this context we can regulate the black curtains for example. However, there must be a certain understanding amongst political parties to ensure fair, free and open elections and what is or what is not considered campaigning for example. Especially the campaigning issue is very important right now to ensure that there is some order created as far as elections are concerned.