Voxpop: should new elections be held? “Something has to be done about this jumping ship business”

POSTED: 05/3/12 4:36 PM

St. Maarten – As the saying goes “politics makes for strange bedfellows.” So we cannot say that we were even vaguely surprised (by no stretch of the imagination) by the announcement that a new government was being formed right under the noses of a less than alert Carnival nation. Dramatic changes had been rumored for months, though the scope of changes could not be determined. In our 37 square mile island, that is democracy at its best and to some extent its worse. No elections were needed to keep the government machinery running. The people did not have their say. But we have come to realize that some like it this way. In light of the recent political upheaval, we asked men and women in the street a pointed question: “Should new elections be held in St.Maarten?” As expected, most of our interviewees refused to have their pictures taken for fear of discrimination but they were willing to share their political views.

Fe Hernandez – Restaurateur

“The wish of the people was not represented in the last government nor will it be in this government. However I still think new elections should be in place. I was not surprised that things would change so drastically. I know the government was in shambles but how the government is formed right now there is no stability in that government. 3 independent members, the Democrats and the National Alliance; that’s five joining there and to me there is no stability. Anything can happen again.”

Repaul Bhoopaul – Security Officer

“The UP government was in there and they did nothing for the people. They just take the people’s vote with promises. I am glad that they shuffle up the whole thing.  There are a lot of people out there who are well educated and can’t get any jobs. They promise the youths that they will give everything but when they are in power, they just forget about everything. That is why we have so many young people committing crime; they need to provide jobs for the coming generation. I was not shocked by what happened. The UP government is full of amateur people; they need professional people to be in there.”

Collin Douglas – Entrepreneur

“When you open your mouth somebody says, he ain’t from here. I still return to my native St. Kitts to vote although I have lived here for 35 years. Down here it is full of jokers, politics is a joke here. One man may get a hundred and something vote and the other gets three hundred and something, but you end up seeing the one with less votes in power. At the end of the day, they all do what they want in St.Maarten, election or no election.”

Ricardo Ansel – Political Observer

“If they have a breakdown in government, I think the principal thing to do would be to hold fresh elections and bring in a new government. People will think that they have been shafted once again. We read the news and realize that the Prime Minister is still the same. So people will think that it is the same set of people all over again. If they want the Prime Minister to remain the same, they should hold new elections and vote her in. This is the only way that people will feel comfortable with her or else it will just be another transition phase. I think they are playing musical chairs. For the past couple of years, everything has just been breaking down just like that. But I was surprised by the announcement; I thought everyone had already settled in their minds which party they would support.”

Pierre Brown – Technician

“Right now, how politics going on this island I doubt if people even care anymore if elections are held or not. The politicians here give you the world of promises and never fulfill them. The last elections a big promise was made out and nothing never come from it. Look at the Brooks Tower, they took people’s money and that was the end of it and the Pelican workers are still struggling. Behind closed doors they are all friends. It just seems like a merry-go-round. I personally believe that they are just trying to build another party from now, so that when the elections period comes around in 2 years, they would have already started their campaigning.”

Ida Richardson – Concerned Citizen

“Change is always good and I welcome it. The only thing is that I wouldn’t want to see us going around in circles. I hope this will be a positive change for country and the people. For legislative purposes elections may be needed but if it is not, why waste time? Forget that and let’s allow the new ruling party to move ahead. Clean it up, I say.”

Michael Henry-Merchandiser

“Something has to be done about this jumping ship business. Can you imagine a person runs on a party slate and then if he loses or his wishes are not met, he decides to jump ship? Instead of discussing it at the executive level of the party, they choose to form new alliances. I think the whole electoral laws have to be reviewed and fast in the entire Dutch Kingdom. I guess it’s the same problem they have in Holland right now. I was thinking that with all that is going on Holland should just step in and bring some order, but they can’t do anything when their own house is not in order. Everybody wants to be in government now. So something has to be done. It is not the first time this happened and I don’t think it will be the last. Once a government falls like this, they should go back to the people for a mandate not to have their own deals and say ok we are the new government. The people didn’t vote for some of them to be in government. These are very interesting times in St.Maarten. They are kind of confusing the people too we just have to wait and see what develops.”

 Carol Remy – Elector

“I think they have to be a plain and correct understanding between Sarah and the persons who are going in because it is like leading one nation with two visions. Yes definitely, new elections should be held, especially if there is no understanding or agreement before these new guys get into their positions.”

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