Former SHTA president Emil Lee announces candidacy for Democratic Party

POSTED: 06/24/14 1:45 PM

St. Maarten – Former SHTA-President Emil Lee announced his long-awaited candidacy for the upcoming parliamentary elections as a member of the Democratic Party at a press conference in Holland House yesterday morning. Lee said that, irrespective of the outcome of the elections, he has nothing to lose. He is comfortable with not winning a seat at all (“I will spend more time with my businesses and my family”), ending up in the opposition (“Opposition has a critical role and I believe that I can make valuable contributions to parliamentary debates”), or getting into the ruling party (“It’s all good, I bring private sector thinking and strategies coupled with 13 years of experience in understanding St. Maarten’s economic and social issues”).

Lee said that he believes, given the opportunity, that real change is possible. “I realized that from the private sector side there are limits to what can be accomplished. In some ways, our current system is broken and it is unrealistic to expect that the beneficiaries of a broken system will fix that system.”

Lee said that there are two fundamental objectives on his political agenda. “First is an open government, including government-owned companies), with increased transparency, accountability and integrity. That will allow citizens to be better informed and involved in the governing process. That in turn increases the effectiveness and efficiency of government and government-owned companies.”

The new DP-candidate added that a more open government “will function better, be more transparent, waste less, collect more revenue and improve the quality of life of the citizens.”

When he decided to enter the political arena, Lee spoke with different parties about his philosophies and objectives and about how to make how to order valium online them a reality. “I have found one party with an openness to change, receptiveness to new ideas and with the experience and capacity to turn visions and dreams into reality. There is one party that shares my passion for open government, accountability, transparency and integrity,” he said, before announcing his candidacy for the Democratic Party.

Party leader Sarah Wescot-Williams, party president Hasani Ellis, MP Roy Marlin, public relations officer Mike Ferrier and SHTA executive director Karen Hana were among those attending the press conference.

Wescot-Williams welcomed Lee to the fold of the Democratic Party. “This has not been an overnight decision. We have had many discussions, that allowed us to take stock of our own objectives,” she said, before addressing Lee: “Win, lose or draw, you have put your money where your mouth is.” she also said that Lee’s decision to enter politics is a courageous one: “The moment you make yourself available, guns will be pointed at you.”

Wescot-Williams said that candidates for the DP sign a pledge in which they commit themselves to the party. Part of this pledge is that candidates promise not to go independent once they have been elected to parliament. Lee and Wescot-Williams admitted that this pledge is not an airtight legal instrument to prevent elected candidates from going independent, but the initiative brings a new element to integrity in politics.

Asked whether there had been non-negotiable issues in his talks with the Democratic Party, Lee said that he would not join a list if there are candidates on it that have integrity issues.

To seal Lee’s bond with the DP, Wescot-Williams pinned a DP-pin on his jacket.

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