Reader’s Opinion: Still about positive change: An explanation (CPC)

POSTED: 07/14/14 11:44 PM

Dear Editor,

Over the past few days there has been much speculation regarding the Citizens for Positive Change Party’s (CPC) decision not to contest the 2014 Parliamentary elections. CPC’s decision was made public in the afternoon of Thursday July, 10 and was immediately met with a wide range of reactions varying from utter disappointment to understanding and appreciation for the CPC’s decision.

As the founding president, political leader and CPC’s intended primary candidate I am hereby offering your readership, the electorate in general and the CPC members and supporters in particular an explanation.

Dissatisfaction with the direction Sint Maarten is headed in; ongoing social disintegration, mismanagement of the island’s financial, natural and cultural resources lead to the coming together of a group of like minded individuals to discuss the possibilities of establishing a new political party in February of 2014. The CPC was subsequently registered and established under my leadership on March 20. Over the past four months the CPC has voiced its opinion on a number of important topics and the party’s membership and supporters have increased significantly.

Allow me to provide a short overview of the occurrences of the past week and a half:

The CPC’s executive board consisting of myself as president, Paul Dijkhoffz as secretary and Paul Henriquez as treasurer held a productive board meeting on July 2, which was followed by an equally fruitful, although somewhat peculiar meeting of the CPC’s general membership on July 7.

I refer to this meeting of July 7 as peculiar because during this meeting CPC Treasurer Henriquez decided to announce that he would be withdrawing his candidacy for the elections. While this announcement came as a surprise to myself as president and to many of the CPC members present, it did not overshadow the party’s first board elections and the presentation of a handful of potential CPC candidates to the membership. I spoke to several CPC members privately after this membership meeting and the general reaction was positive. The board election resulted in the appointment of four dedicated and opinionated CPC members to the board as regular board members, things seemed to be moving along as nicely as one could expect from such a young organization.

On Tuesday July 8, a day after our general meeting and three days before postulation, CPC Treasurer Henriquez announced by email that he would not be supporting the CPC’s participation in the 2014 election as he was of the opinion that the CPC was not ready. The party’s treasurer moved to present a motion which was summarized as follows “to opt to take a step back, re-group, keep building membership and run in the following parliamentary elections (after the upcoming 2014 Parliamentary elections)”. This motion was soon afterwards seconded by the party’s secretary Paul Dijkhoffz.

As the party’s newly elected board members had not yet been legally registered the board therefore legally consisted of three persons (Dijkhoffz, Henriquez, Thompson) and based on the democratic principles CPC is governed by, the tabling of the motion followed by Dijkhoffz support thereof constituted a majority decision.

As president of the CPC I took some forty-eight hours to investigate and reflect on CPC’s options for moving forward. A significant fraction of the newly elected board and the majority of our membership indicated a willingness to continue as planned and to participate in the upcoming elections. I agreed with these members and if at all possible would have wholeheartedly supported CPC’s participation in the elections, even with a list of just two or three candidates.


However, the reality of the matter is that without the support of the executive CPC board members, who are registered at the Electoral Council and other relevant organizations as the legal representatives of the party, it would have been impossible for CPC to participate in the 2014 elections.


After two sleepless nights and much consultation with party members I came to the conclusion that I had been left with no choice other than to support the motion as presented by Paul Henriquez and formulated by Paul Dijkhoffz to: Not contest the 2014 Parliamentary elections, regroup and contest the next following Parliamentary elections (after the 2014 Parliamentary elections)”.


Although much of the circumstances were beyond my control, as president of the CPC I took responsibility for the state of the party’s affairs. After much contemplation, with a heavy heart and profound regret, I therefore offered my immediate resignation as president and member of the Citizens for Positive Change (CPC) on Thursday July 10.


My personal feelings are that the decision on whether or not the CPC was ready to serve the population in Parliament should have been left up to the electorate on August 29, and no one else!


When it had become clear that CPC would not participate in the 2014 elections, I realized that I could not sit by idly for four years while the majority of Sint Maarten’s leaders continue to mismanage the island’s finances, undermine the viability of our economy and allow for the further disintegration of our society. As an advocate for implementation of sustainable development practices, I could not stand by as Sint Maarten’s decision makers continue to destroy our natural and cultural resources. I therefore started to pursue possibilities for CPC’s overall mission, goals and core principles, which are equivalent to my own, to still be reflected in the August 29 elections.


As part of this process I contacted the leader of the United Sint Maarten Party MP Frans Richardson and his team. I informed Mr. Richardson of the CPC’s intention not to participate in the elections and inquired if there was any possibility for a discussion regarding the unification and integration of his party’s vision and objectives with my principles and goals as the founding, by this time former, president of the CPC. After some intense discussion we found common ground.


And so even though the CPC itself will not be participating in the elections, as one of the party’s main founders I will be participating in the elections as a candidate and team member on the list of the United Sint Maarten Party. I will continue to advocate for and champion the principles of transparency, accountability, democracy, equality, participation, respect for natural and cultural heritage, sustainable development and dignity.


I thank my family, friends and advisors for their support and encouragement during this past week. My sincere appreciation also goes out to those of the CPC members who have stood by me and everyone who has contacted me to indicate support and wish me well.


I am still by all means a Sint Maarten citizen for positive change.




Rueben J. Thompson









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