SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Grisha Heyliger, the wife of former Member of Parliament and beloved politician Theodore Heyliger, has officially announced she is running as a candidate on the United People's Party for the Parliamentary Election set for January next year.
Grisha will be the number 4 candidate on the UP party slate, which is sentimental to her, as her husband, Theodore Heyliger, entered the political arena on St. Maarten with the same number. He then became the largest vote-getter and pioneered the redevelopment of St. Maarten.
When she made her announcement, Grisha said, "I wish to share with you my decision to enter the Parliamentary Election set for January 9, 2020. This decision was not an easy one, but it comes from the realization that each of us must Stand Up for what we believe." She explained that the decision was not one she was expecting to make.
She said, during my battle, “I have said on many occasions; this is not only about Theo. It is our battle as a family. However, while standing up for my husband, it brought home the reality that this is even bigger than he is. Whether you support him or not, I, like many of you, realize that our Country needs people more than ever, who are committed to standing up for the people of this Country.”
She was referring to the almost seven-year struggle her husband endured to prove his innocence amidst false allegations of vote-buying and attempted briberies that culminated in his pre-trial detention. He was later acquitted of all charges by the Court of First Instance in St. Maarten, on Thursday, November 14, 2019.
Her husband's incarceration was perhaps the most profound moment of her struggles. It was also a time when St. Maarten and the entire world saw her real strength when she stood up and insisted on reclaiming her husband's passport so he could seek medical treatment abroad. She also travelled to Bonaire when Theo was taken surprisingly from pre-trial detention in St. Maarten and has shown real strength of character throughout the entire ordeal while still being mother and Entrepreneur.
Initially, Grisha thought of creating an educational movement for St. Maarten to educate people about the root of the problem, which she believes, lies in the lack of true autonomy and the need of true self-governance.
After facing many shortcomings in our Country's laws, and seeing the challenges with our Constitutional status, it became clear that our people's rights are not clearly defined within those laws and guidelines. “This approach is still a worthy cause, and from the floor of Parliament, I can access the tools needed to bring about real change for the betterment of our people,” said Grisha on Sunday.
“We must make our citizens aware of the instruments being used to bind and constrict us. We need to get to a place where we see our bottlenecks and stand UP for change. I have stood firm as my husband's pillar, even while he worked and pursued his vision for the future of St. Maarten, and I am ready to take a stand for you.”
The starting point for her plan to redevelop St. Maarten, is reigniting the passion and determination seen after past challenges, such as hurricane Irma. “We must stand Up, shoulder-to-shoulder, and support each other for better, for right, and strength. It is the only way to secure our future and our children's future," said Grisha.
Prior to postulation day Grisha intends to release several updates outlining her platform including information surrounding her decision to run for office. It will be released via social media outlets including her website www.vote4grisha.com. For those interested in additional information regarding her platform you can contact the candidate on 550-4444,
She also intends to work on social issues surrounding the redevelopment of communities and creating a network that drives economic activities in the districts. She will be releasing more of her Platform during the coming weeks as campaigning intensifies.