Opinion: Shame on you, Mr. Plasterk

POSTED: 05/4/14 10:46 PM

For years we have been fighting the buying of votes and the Dutch are basically legalizing it by allowing the voters to take a picture of the ballot indicating who they have voted for. Many years ago, people were paid with blocks, cement and zinc to vote for the party that has governed St. Maarten for over forty years. The parties that didn’t have access to the government coffers didn’t have a chance to be elected. Some voters were given half of a hundred dollar bill and the other half after they have voted. Today with modern technology a person goes into vote, takes a picture with his phone and “viola” here is the proof that I have voted for you”. Pay me my money for voting for you and I am on my sweet way. We are still awaiting the court verdict of two possible modern day vote buying that allegedly took place during the 2010 elections and now the Dutch wants to set a dangerous precedent.

 

Rules have been set here on St. Maarten that a voter is not allowed to enter the voting   booth with a phone (any recording device) to avoid persons from taking pictures to confirm that they have voted for a person or a party. This rule we hope to continue to enforce during the election that is scheduled to take place on August 29.

Low and behold our Dutch Minister of Interior Affaires has stated and made it possible for persons to enter the voting booth in the recently held municipal election and take pictures of their vote. This photo can also be placed on face book or twitter. What is good for the Netherlands is not necessarily good for St. Maarten. And this is definitely not good for St. Maarten. We don’t want to go backwards and legalize the buying of votes with the help of taking photos of the voter ballot indicating who they have voted for.

We take strong offense to this decision of our Dutch Minister of Interior Affaires, Mr. Ronald Plasterk. Shame on you Mr. Plasterk, there are certain things that we just shouldn’t tolerate and this is one of them; in our opinion the democracy in the Dutch Kingdom will be at stake based on this decision of Mr. Plasterk.

For this reason the OSPP strongly supports the Dutch Foundation for Civil Rights Protection as they have decided to take the Dutch government to court. This foundation is of the opinion that taking and publishing of a picture (selfies) with a completed voter ballot is contrary to the voting secret (kiesgeheim) and should be banned.

 

Lenny Priest,

President One St. Maarten people Party (OSPP)

 

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