Prime Minister Wescot Williams Urges Community to Exercise the Right to Vote

Over the weekend the Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams again reiterated the fact that on August 29th, the citizens of St. Maarten will be exercising one of the bedrocks of the Democratic System; the free right to vote for fifteen members of Parliament as outlined in the constitution of St. Maarten; “On August the 29th the voters of St. Maarten are called to vote, this is one of the bedrocks of our Democratic System. This election will put forward persons elected for the second Parliament for our country, starting on the 10th of October 2014 for an election term of four years. In order to meet the regular term for the Parliament of St. Maarten; a term of four years and all of the necessary steps that lead up to the election need to happen within specific periods of time. Given the dates involved any deviation from that could have come about only through calling early elections. This could have happened through the Government of St. Maarten dissolving Parliament which automatically will bring with it new elections, which is a very extraordinary event. Hence the discussion of having elections in Hurricane Season is a direct result of the choosing of October tenth for the new Parliament taking office. If we are not comfortable with this we need to change the date which Parliament will commence,” emphasized Prime Minister Wescot-Williams.


The Prime Minister also explained that, since the Minister of Justice the Honorable Dennis Richardson did not receive the cooperation of some parties within Parliament on suggestions on elections and campaign reform, it was necessary for the Minister to issue guidelines with respect to how campaigning is conducted; “There was a motion unanimously passed in Parliament dealing with campaign or electoral reform. In it the Parliament of St. Maarten put several consideration asking Government to undertake some actions regarding campaigning. Even though this was unanimously passed in Parliament in April 2013 we now have a situation where Parliamentarians are rescinding on that motion. I have been to Parliament many times to give a position on having the position of parliament as expressed in the motion effectuated. Nevertheless not much happened with the proposals that I sent to Parliament with regards to campaign reform. The hope was that there would be a more orderly process with regards to citizens exercising their right to vote. As it pertains to the safety and public order part of elections the Justice Minister engaged in a process to come to a process amongst the parties in Parliament regarding the elections of 2014. The Minister in this regard did not receive the cooperation of all parties in Parliament so it was necessary for the Minister to issue guidelines with respect to public order. Yes there are rights of free speech but this does not give anyone the right to misuse it, this right should not infringe on that of the individual. The gist of the matter is that safety must be taken into consideration and public order must always be maintained. The Police Force has been working with political parties and has been working very well in ensuring campaign posters do not cover traffic signs etc.


The people of St. Maarten need to be very conscious of their vote and as Prime Minister I urge the people to make use of their right to vote. Put your confidence in a Parliament that will represent you for four years and who will elect a Council of Ministers that will run Government for the next four years for all of the people of St. Maarten.” Concluded Prime Minister Wescot-Williams.