Opinion: Politics for the rich

POSTED: 07/9/14 5:56 PM

As the leader of the Concordia Political Alliance, I have realized that we have laws whereby only big parties and most of all rich parties would be able to contest elections here for parliament on St. Martin.

First of all to prove that what I’m saying is correct I want you to please follow the procedures that I will be outlining to you before a party would be able to run for parliamentary elections on St. Maarten. And by chance if I am not correct with the procedures that are to be followed then either the parliament, the Electoral Council or the Main Voting Bureau can correct me on this.

First of all each political party must be established by notarial deed in which the articles of incorporation of the political party’s association is recorded.

Annually before April 1 every political Party must submit to the Electoral Council a year report with the following information included.

  1. The compilation of the board during that year
  2. The number of members that have given contributions from the beginning to the end of the year
  3. The ceiling of the contribution during that year
  4. The activities held by the party during that year.

A financial report will also be included with the year report of each political party which will be comprised of the following.

  1. The total assets at the beginning and at the end of the year. (Balance sheet)
  2. A specific summary of the income and expenses and also a declaration of a registered accountant regarding the credibility of the Financial Report.
  3. Donations of more than Naf 5.000,00 derived from entities other than a natural person.
  4. The total of donations, besides the contribution of the members of political parties.

These reports will be available for public perusal or inspection

All political parties are obliged to submit their original receipt for the publication of their articles of association in the National Gazette. The total cost for submission is Naf 100 per page at the party’s expense.

All political parties are obliged to submit a list of candidates on nomination day to the Main Voting Bureau, which will be reviewed by the Bureau. An amount of Naf 2,000 must be paid to the Island Receiver before you submit the party’s list of candidates to the Main Voting bureau also at the party’s expense.

After the lists of the oarties with their candidates have been submitted all parties that are not represented in parliament (this applies however to all parties – ed.) must have their list signed by the electorate with at a minimum 1% of the total votes cast at the last elections, which is about 134 signatures. Failure to meet that quota, a party would not be able to participate in the elections on August 29, 2014 after going through the above lengthy process even though the party has spent so much money which will not be refunded.

The electorate should be the one to answer the question if this parliamentary election has been only created for parties that are wealthy and have big bank accounts or big interest groups that are supplying them with party funding. So even if you have a great message, it is sad to say that without money it’s impossible to run a party on St. Maarten with the procedures that are now in place.

Jeffrey Richardson

Concordia Political Alliance (CPA)

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