Seven new political parties report for 2016 elections

POSTED: 11/10/15 4:48 PM

St. Maarten – An astonishing number of seven new political parties reported to the offices of the Electoral Council yesterday to submit their request to be registered for the February 9 elections. Among them is the St. Maarten Christian Party, led by Pastor Wycliffe smith. On the other hand, the party of European Dutch residents did not show up, reportedly because they did not have enough time to prepare their documentation.

With the seven new parties – if they get all their formalities in order – the field for the elections will consist of eleven and possibly twelve parties. The incumbent parties are Democratic Party, National Alliance, United People’s Party and United St. Maarten Party.

Of the two parties that contested the 2014 collections – Social Reform Party and One St. Maarten People Party – it seems that the Social Reform Party will not make a second run at a seat.

One of the newcomers is Hope, an acronym that stands for Helping Our People Excel. Its party leader is Mercedes van der Waals-Wyatt. She came to the office of the Electoral Council in the company of her secretary Kenty Lichtenberg and her treasurer Valeska Laurent.

The St. Maarten Christian Party came with its three-member board, co-founder Edwin Arrindell and a few supporters. The party did not have its excerpt from the Chamber of Commerce and it was also contemplating a name change. President Wycliffe Smith, Secretary Benjamin Bell and Treasurer Jacqueline Godet presented their papers to the electoral council, consisting of Chairman Bert Hofman, vice-chair Cela Richardson-Nicolaas and member Linda Richardson.

Next Don Hughes and his son John showed up to announce the revival of the People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA), once led by former parliament president Gracita Arrindell. Milton Ottley is the party’s president, Gregory Frederick its treasurer and Don Hughes is a member of the board.

The PPA has to solve a nifty issue, because it was established as a foundation. Under the legislation that kicked in on 10-10-10, political parties have to be organized as an association.

Later in the afternoon the Millennial Advancement Party SXM, founded by Peter Gittens presented its credentials. Natascha Manuella is its treasurer. The party focuses on the generation that was born around the turn of the century. Stopping crime and a focus on future generations of St. Maarteners is the party’s goal. The party also wants to create more jobs for local youngsters.

Benjamin Ortega is the president of the SXM Development Movement. He came to the Electoral Council with his wife and one Mrs. Richardson, saying that they do not like to talk to reporters because their words could be misinterpreted. Ortega is a real estate developer.

Loekie Morales, well-known from Beyond Kultura Events, presented her Beyond SXM Development party. Information about the party and its program is yet to be forthcoming. Morales asked the Electoral Council is she could join another party if her party does not have enough members.

Owenal Plummer set the record for the political party with the longest name: Only Spirit of Prophecy Democrats Government a Voice in the Earth the Apostle and Prophetic Ministry Evangelics. This one-man party strongly believes in the upcoming prophecy of the bloody red moon, and the arrival of aliens. Plummer wants safe sex, less crime, good marriages and a focus on the families that live on the islands. Plummer owns a security company.

The Electoral Council will examine all documents the prospective parties have submitted and, if need be, inform them about necessary corrections.

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