CPC board members sidelined President Rueben Thompson

POSTED: 07/14/14 11:44 PM

St. Maarten – Secretary Paul Dijkhoffz and treasurer Paul Henriquez pulled the plug on the participation of Citizens for Positive Change in the August 29 elections, it appears from an explanation the party’s founder, president and designated number one candidate Rueben Thompson sent to the media yesterday.

Last week Monday Henriquez withdrew as a candidate in a move that surprised party leader Thompson. A day later, Henriquez informed Thompson via email that he would no longer support CPC’s participation in the elections.

He presented a motion to take a step back, to keep building membership and to take part in the next elections for parliament instead. Secretary Paul Dijkhoffz seconded the motion. Since Henriquez and Dijkhoffz formed the board together with Thompson, there was a majority decision.

On Thursday, Thompson offered his resignation as president of the party and then found a place on the list of Frans Richardson’s United St. Maarten party (US) as the number four candidate.

In a detailed explanation that we publish unabridged on our opinion page today, Thompson makes clear that he disagrees with his former fellow-board members: “The decision whether or not CPC was ready to serve the population in parliament should have been left up to the electorate on August 29, and no one else.”

This newspaper received a letter to the editor from a group of disappointed CPC-supporters who criticized Thompson for his decision, apparently unaware of the decision taken by Dijkhoffz and Henriquez. We do not publish this letter however, because the author refused to sign it with his name, citing concerns “that this letter will have repercussions for us considering some of the elements on political parties.”

Remarkably, the press release CPC sent out to last week to announce that the party would not take part in the elections after all, also contains a reference to political reprisals. “CPC has noticed that there is quite a level of fear for political reprisals within the community. People fear that by exercising their democratic responsibilities, they will be singled out by the powers that be and will be adversely affected personally or professionally, nobody wants to “rock the boat” in public,” is part of the statement Henriquez and Dijkhoffz sent to the media without Thompson’s authorization. The text suggests that his fellow board members shared this fear for political reprisals.

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