Frans Richardson presents United St. Maarten PartyPOSTED: 12/23/13 1:56 PM
Independent MP Frans Richardson on stage with the board of his party.
St. Maarten – With lots of entertainment and little political content, independent MP Frans Richardson launched his political party yesterday at a location on L.B. Scott Road next to the Passion Club that belongs to the mother of Public Health Minister Cornelius de Weever. Richardson named his political movement United St. Maarten Party, and together with his board members he showed up in light blue tee shirts with the letters US prominently on display.
Richardson presented only the board of his party yesterday, not any candidates for a list for the 2014 elections. So far, Minister De Weever has not reacted to questions from this newspaper whether he is about to join the party.
Cecil Nicholas is the party’s president, Rochelle Hodge is vice-president, Melissa Arrindell-Doncher treasurer, Lloyd Paul assistant treasurer, Anthea Richardson secretary, comedian Fernando Clark public relations officer, Agnes Brooks event coordinator and Patrick Brathwaite board member. Richardson is, obviously, the party leader.
The party at L.B. Scott Road attracted between 300 and 350 people, thought Richardson said that in the course of the day, around 1,200 people stopped by. Among them was Democratic Party MP Leroy de Weever. Acts like the Impact Band, Red Eye Crew, DJ Polly and Triple K out of Dominica took care of the entertainment.
The party held a raffle with tablets as prizes for children and gift baskets for adults.
Party president Cecil Nicholas referred in a brief speech to “being tired of the current political situation on the island.” He furthermore spoke about change, “hope for our future generations” and “changing the feeling of non-confidence in a government that is failing us.”
Frans Richardson said that the time had come for him “to take a good hard look at where we are as a people and where we want to go from there.” The party-leader said that, once elected next year he will “embark on a realistic approach to address the needs of the people.” He mentioned job opportunities, decent wages, affordable housing and a level playing field for locals in the economy. Richardson added that USP would become “a vehicle for social justice and visible change – a true alternative to others that have not produced tangible results for most St. Maarteners.”
What exactly the agenda of the USP is remains nevertheless unclear. Nicholas mentioned, almost as an afterthought towards the end of his address, issues like “good governance, improved safety in the communities, better job opportunities, better healthcare and education and protection of the environment.”
With Richardson’s United St. Maarten Party, there are now seven parties in the field for next year’s elections. Prime Minister Wescot-Williams’s Democratic Party, William Marlin’s National Alliance, Theo Heyliger’s United People’s party, Jeffry Richardson’s Concordia Political Alliance, Jacinto Mock’s Social Reform Party and Lenny Priest’s One St. Maarten People Party.