Elections in first week of September: Minister De Weever remains loyal to Democratic Party

POSTED: 03/19/14 10:18 AM

St. Maarten – Member of parliament Petrus Leroy de Weever will step aside if his nephew, Public Health Minister Cornelius de Weever, becomes a candidate on the list for the Democratic Party for the elections that will be held in the first week of September. The presence of Minister De Weever at a press conference the party convened yesterday in Philipsburg is a clear indication that he will indeed be a candidate, though party leader Sarah Wescot-Williams declined to become specific about her team that will challenge the elections.

Wescot-Williams declined to answer the question whether Minister de Weever’s predecessor Maria Buncamper-Molanus had approached the party for a place on the list.

MP Leroy de Weever told the assembled media that the DP had been a factor of stability throughout three cabinets since 10-10-10. “I have made a choice,” he said without being specific, but making clear that it is all about how to best move St. Maarten forward. “The voters will decide who will come back to office.”

When his term is up, De Weever will have served eight years. “Togetherness is what the DP stands for,” he said. “I do not think this will be my last speech. I will be there to guide.”

Addressing his nephew, De Weever said that the truth would prevail. “Rumors always come from jealous people and they are listened to by idiots. When you are part of the DP, you are part of substance. The majority of business people are no longer able to continue with the greed of some people that have been elected. From a family point of view, I say that the minister will not leave the DP family. If you are called on, you will answer.”

To which Minister De Weever later answered: “Stay close to the family and have a sense of loyalty.”

The DP convened the press conference to make some statements about the party’s status as an association. After a membership meeting that was held in December, the articles of incorporation of the association have been brought up to par with new legislation. The previous set of articles that ruled the DP, date back to 1996.

Party leader Wescot-Williams said that the DP is prepared to enter into discussions with other parties that are willing to promote St. Maarten.  “In this election year our party needs the opportunity to establish its position so that people understand where we are heading.”

Creating economic opportunities and social cohesion are among the party’s priorities. The DP will publish its election program and seek cooperation with parties that have similar objectives.

DP President Michael Ferrier said that the party is “on the move again in a positive sense” and that it will embrace initiatives to do the right thing for St. Maarten. “No smoke and mirrors, no gimmicks,” Ferrier said. “We have to do what is right for the people. We are ready for these changes and moves and for being regenerated.”

The party will convene a meeting for board elections on April 6. One of the vacancies is obviously that of vice president, since Stuart Johnson not only gave up that position on Monday, but also his membership of the party.

Ferrier did not spend many words of Johnson’s departure, other than indicating that he had refused to put his signature under the new articles of incorporation. The reasons for this decision remained unclear.

MP Roy Marlin pointed out that the DP has been consistent during its tenure in parliament since 10-101-10. “We have stayed out of the fray of name-calling and focused on the people instead of on the local melee.”

Marlin said that government-owned companies are straying too far from the corporate governance code and that it is about time to maintain proper control and to ensure good bookkeeping.

Wescot-Williams hinted that campaigning will be different this year. “We cannot have the regular campaign activities if there are so many social issues. We think money should be spent otherwise and we call on other parties to join us. We have to put our money where our mouth is. A line in the sand needs to be drawn and we will do that, no matter what others will do.”

The DP will enter the campaign with the slogan “Let’s get this right.” In the coming weeks the party will begin to “show the faces” of the people that will be part of the election campaign.

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