SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Leader of the Peoples Progressive Alliance (PPA) Gracita Arrindell said on Monday in a press statement: “Ensuring that democratic freedoms embedded in our Constitution can be enjoyed by every single voter on our beautiful island, is imperative”. There is no justification whatsoever to allow anyone regardless of their appointed or elected positions to take our democracy and its processes hostage.
“Now that confusion dust has settled over the arguably worst period in our constitutional history, it is critically important that we as a people, take stock of the past events that rocked our young nation and not in a positive way. It is critically important not to succumb to the negative narrative of what took place and is still taking place in regards to the processes ruling the voting process.
“What we do not want, what cannot happen is for us to sit quiet and not ask the critically important Questions of what happened, who made these decision and why those decisions were still made in spite of the glaring unprepared situation on the ground.
“Personally, as a responsible political leader, I was appalled, and furious and felt violated as many people were, in my right to rely on the basic principles of good governance and have a electoral process that every active and passive electorate can rely on.” What happened was unacceptable and should, will never occur again”.
Arrindell continues; “ Today October 14th is an official Holiday. Constitution Day. This day should be dedicated to the entire body of the Main Voting bureau, especially its chairman, Mr Jason Rogers. It takes guts to stand up for democracy as they did under his leadership. This is not political. It is simple common sense.
Imagine the ensuing chaos if these brave men and women did not pull the handbrakes on this process as they ‘spoke truth to power’ thereby force the powers that be to call off the date of October 2nd postulation day and election November 25th. Both dates were DOA. Dead on Arrival, yet government did not care!
“The expressed concerns by the main voting bureau were all justified. Some examples of what we experienced in the few days granted to parties that were ‘allowed’ to contest the elections from organizational standpoint for example;
- no official notification of the election date neither by the main voting bureau, nor the electoral council, other than what we took note of by media
- September 30, around 1215 afternoon, checklist sent by ministry of general affairs to political parties allowed to contest the elections
- census office continued to have opening hours from 8 to 10.30 a.m for candidates to purchase their registration form from the census office (uitreksel basis administratie)
- concerns about the critical shortage of legal personnel to prepare draft laws (wetgevings juristen)
Gracita said: “Carefully reading the letter of resignation of the chairman of the main voting bureau I was dismayed and hopeful at the same time. My particular concern was that the chairman notified from the outset on September 25th both government and the governor of the constitutional and practical constrains regarding the dates of October 2nd and November 25th, and yet, those concerns were Ignored, prompting the main voting bureau to do the honorable and understandable act and resigned October 1st 2019, one day before postulation day. Why were those concerns ignored in the first place thereby putting all voters and some political leaders, current and aspiring including the P.P.A to protest that decision. In the meantime as a citizen recently stated to me ‘ ‘ER GEBEURT GEWOON NIETS’ under the current circumstances.
“Parliament must hold an inquiry into this serious issue. Failure to do so, will continue to stagnate our constitutional understanding of this process we embarked upon on October 10, 2010”. Additionally, Parliament can instruct the latest interim government to organize voting in the Netherlands and USA at cities where the majority of our students reside. We can vote for the Dutch and European elections, in Sint Maarten. Our students must be allowed to vote for their future as well.”
The PPA leader concludes: “We must conclude that our democracy is nor in peril. It is alive and evolving as many nations have done before us. More integrity needed and firm decision- making we can rely on. We must respect and support those who stand up not because it is good for them, but because it is right for us All!”