SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Member of Parliament Rolando Brison was officially elected leader of the United People (UP) party at a party congress held on Saturday at the Simpson Bay Resort. Member of Parliament Dr. Luc Mercelina was elected as Deputy Leader of the party and a new party board was voted in for the next two years.
Long time party president Silvia Meyers was once again appointed as President of the Board. She will be joined on the board by Gina Illidge, Claudia Lista, Michael Granger and Alfred Harley. The positions on the board will be determined at the very next board meeting.
In his address to the gathering Brison said what St. Maarten needs is an evolution of politics. "It has to evolve where we are not afraid to work with each other in the benefit of the people and where the level of governing continues to elevate," he said. Referring to the new faces and members of UP, MP Brison said. "What I see before us is the new tide of politics, but on the foundation built by Theo Heyliger and the stalwarts of the UP party," he said.
He went on to speak about the bond he and Heyliger has cultivated over the years, from an intern in Heyliger's office as Commissioner of Tourism to working together as MP's. He said as a teenager, after spending time with Heyliger, he knew immediately that he wanted "to be like Theo." "I respect Theo Heyliger immensely and I am grateful and honored that he sees in me similar passion, vision and ability to lead," Brison said.
MP Brison said the UP represents exactly what St. Maarten wants and the commitment of all candidates will anchored in their love for their country. "We will have confidence in our nation's ability to govern itself autonomously, we will champion true justice for all citizens, we will unleash the true economic potential of our country and most importantly, we will show compassion and empathy for our fellow St. Maarteners."
Deputy Leader of the UP Dr. Luc Mercelina said the party's ideology is based on unity and inclusiveness, Integrity, Respect, Representation of our core Values, Norms, Morals and Ethics, Open communication and open approach. Playing on the party's "Stand UP" slogan, he asked all present to commit to the following 7 points:
- Stand up for the reconstruction of the airport.
- Stand up for the construction of the new hospital.
- Stand up for the construction of Social and affordable houses and facilitate roof repair.
- Stand up for the construction of a new prison where the Human Rights are respected.
- Stand up for the cleaning up of the island.
- Stand up to combat poverty.
- Stand up for more autonomy for our Country.
MP Brison specifically told the candidates present to view the snap elections of January 9 as a sprint. “We are doing this because we love our country and its people and we believe St. Maarten deserves better. We will run this campaign as a team and should the people of St. Maarten affords us the privilege of governing, we will forge a bright future for our home that includes everyone and leaves no one behind,” Brison said.
The new board of the UP party along with the leader MP Rolando Brison (left) and Deputy Leader MP Dr. Luc Mercelina (right)