St. Maarten Prime Minister wants voting rights for students in HollandPOSTED: 01/7/16 6:12 PM
Prime Minister William Marlin with Education Minister Silveria Jacobs at yesterday’s press briefing. Photo Today / Hilbert Haar
St. Maarten News – Prime Minister William Marlin will travel to the Netherlands on Sunday for a week-long visit where he will meet with Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Kingdom Relations Minister Ronald Plasterk and the vice-chair of the Council of State, Piet Hein Donner. Marlin will also meet with St. Maarten students studying in the Netherlands.
“One of the things I hope we will be able to realize is giving those students the possibility to vote in our elections in September.”
Marlin pointed out that Dutch citizens living in the Caribbean are entitled to vote in some elections in the Netherlands.
“I want to make a special effort for the students that study in the Netherlands. Those studying in the United States remain registered in St. Maarten and it is customary for them to come home and vote. Those studying in the Netherlands are not allowed to remain registered here. They have to write out of the registry and they have to register in the Netherlands. And you cannot have two addresses at the same time in the Kingdom.”
Marlin says that this way, the students “are deprived of their right to vote,” adding that these are “young men and women who prepare to come back home. Many of them do return after completing their studies. But for the five to seven years they are studying in the Netherlands they are banned from voting. They are not allowed to vote here, even if they are on the island during the elections.”
Marlin wants to explore the possibility to set up one or more polling stations in the Netherlands for the students. “They should not be deprived of their voting rights. Imagine having two siblings of which one studies in Tallahassee and the other in the Netherlands. The first one is allowed to vote, but the second one is not.”