Lenny Priest on appointment of Ministers: UP has no confidence in its own candidates

POSTED: 01/25/15 9:12 PM

St. Maarten —A vote of no confidence in almost its entire slate of candidates in the 2014 elections has unwittingly been expressed by the United People party, according to leader of the One St. Maarten People Party Lenny Priest, who explained that this is his conclusion after noting that out of the 23 candidates on the UP list only one has been appointed as a minister in the new UP lead cabinet.

“Each party that contested the 2014 election was allowed to carry 23 persons on the list. They placed the best qualified persons at the time on their list. What is very strange is that after the election in 2014 all of the candidates on the UP list are either over or under qualified. We draw our conclusion based on the facts that only one candidate to date has been appointed in the Gumbs cabinet. All the other ministers were not on the list during the last election and there are two ministries still vacant at this moment.  What does this tell us? It tells us that the UP leadership has no confidence in the other candidates regardless to their experience or educational back ground,” The OSPP leader said.

Priest likened this situation to St. Maarten students who go abroad to study and are unable to find employment locally on their return because they are told they are either under or over qualified for the available positions. “For years I have heard many young people indicating that they will not return to St. Maarten upon completing their studies. In my opinion I believed it had to do with them acquiring more experience, greater possibilities to move up the ladder and last but not the least better pays checks abroad. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. All indications are that many of them feel that when returning to St. Maarten and if they applied for a job they would be labeled overqualified or under qualified in their own country. Over qualified, because the employer already has someone in mind to hire and under qualified because of the rigorous requirements set forth by the employer.”

He noted that in one of his first addresses to the nation in his capacity as Prime Minister, Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs expressed his intention to introduce the counterpart policy. The counterpart policy allows for a local person who is not experienced or qualified enough for a position for which a work permit was granted to be employed alongside that foreign worker as a paid counterpart who is training to replace that foreign worker. One of the main reasons for this proposed police, as was stated, is to put local people back to work.

“Perhaps since it is the UP government and they are proposing the counterpart policy they should demonstrate to the public how this counterpart proposal will work.  They should start by placing Iris Arrindell as a counterpart for Minister Hassink of Finance; Veronica Jansen as a counterpart for Prime Minister Gumbs of VRomi; Terry Peterson for Minister Dennis Richardson for Justice; Dr. Rhoda Arrindell as counterpart to Minister Rita Gumbs of Education; Jules James for Minister Richardson for Social Affairs & Labour; Gracita Arindell as counterpart for Prime Minister Gumbs. All of those candidates after four years should be qualified to govern the next time around or do they have to be part of the inner circle? It is no wonder many of our young people abroad are very skeptical about returning to St. Maarten after completing their studies,” Priest said. He questioned, “If the leadership of UP can do this to their fellow candidates what wouldn’t they do to them our future leaders who are not affiliated to the party?”

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