DP holds congress “New board reflects party’s vision”

POSTED: 04/15/14 1:29 AM

St. Maarten – The Democratic Party (DP) of St. Maarten held its congress last Saturday night. A packed Cultural Center saw the election of a new board against the backdrop of the party’s new logo and to the music of the party’s songs, adaptations of the popular songs Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke and Daft Punk’s Get Lucky.

The executive board positions will be filled by 3 young professionals, with their roots well planted in the Democratic Party, the DP said in a press release.

“The charismatic Hasani Ellis contested the president’s position unopposed, as did Stephan Richardson and Giselle York for the position of Secretary and Treasurer respectively.

Much praised was showered on the outgoing board under the leadership of its president, Mr. Michael Ferrier,” the party added. The board, besides the president, made up of Treasurer Roy Marlin, act. Secretary Richelda Emmanuel-Rodriquez, members Leopold York, Lourdes Brooks, and Margaret Williams served the party since 2009 and in the words of the party leader, “were there for the party during some of it most trying times, but remained steadfast.”

Eight members vied for the position of board members. Those elected are Margaret Williams, Mario Gumbs, Armand Meda, John Rosheuvel, and Antonio Rogers.

Among other things, outgoing president, Michael Ferrier, in his report to the membership, highlighted the “Red Thread” symbol of the party, “a symbol of progress, connectivity, and continuity.”

Both the party leader and Minister of Health, Cornelius de Weever, emphasized “the consistency of DP’s representation in government since 2010. Most achievements in government can be credited to this continuity,” the board said.

The party leader reminded the membership of their important role in the party’s organization and reflected on the party’s ideology as enshrined in its new charter. An ideology based on “Christian and social-democratic values, the constitutional state, social cohesion and patriotism, and advancement for all.”

The chairperson for the meeting was Richelda Emmanuel-Rodriquez, while a 3-person election committee was responsible for the voting proceedings.

DP parliamentary faction leader, Roy Marlin, also gave some insights on the current political arena.

Words like “loyalty, pride, and voluntarism in party matters” were common themes in the various discussions.

The DP will be celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, and party leader Wescot-Williams made it clear that another focus of hers will be the grooming of a new and young generation to take over the leadership of the party, after her “20 years at the helm of the political institution that is credited for St. Maarten’s unequaled economic growth, from obscurity to a player to be reckoned with,” the board said. “The party leader’s own mark, however, will be on the attainment of country status in 2010 after years of denial and disappointments.”

In her advice to the new board, Wescot-Williams reminded the members that they have to hit the ground running, but that they can rely on her guidance and that of others within the party structure.

The DP leader also expounded on the matter of the election date and explained that given the historic connotations of the September 5th date, namely the anniversary of the devastating hurricane Luis, it would still be within the boundaries of the law to move the date ahead with one week to August 29. This will be her recommendation in her capacity as Minister of General Affairs and responsible for elections.

Giving the evening another twist was the mention of several candidates who will be running on the DP, as well as nominations for such coming from the floor.

“The Democratic Party is presently in the process of screening potential candidates, as well as ensuring that we have a broad representation of the wider population and of different sectors,” its board concluded.


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