Wescot-Williams leads DP in 2014 elections

POSTED: 12/30/13 12:55 AM

Democratic Party wants to bring “new ideas and new approaches”

St. Maarten – Close to two hundred party members – from sixteen to eighty years old –  held “a boisterous and upbeat meeting” at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Hotel on December 15, “rallying support for a renewed and reinvigorated DP,” according to a press statement from Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams. In this meeting “the vision for the DP moving into the 2014 elections was laid out.”

The press release makes clear that Wescot-Williams will head the DP for the upcoming elections and that she will not – as the rumor mill had it – become the number two on the list of Theo Heyliger’s United People’s party.

“Various brainstorming sessions and exchanges were held outlining the direction of the party and what its leadership, headed by Party leader, Sarah Wescot-Williams will be championing  as part of its vision  for the people of St. Maarten,” the press release states.

In-depth discussions with external experts and  party members about party philosophy, economic and social agendas, campaigning and candidate nomination, party organization and membership,  and sustainable development, will results in the central part of the DP’s 2014 party program, the release states.

Party leader Wescot-Williams said at the membership meeting that the party needs to refocus and move away from the usual political rhetoric of campaign promises that cannot be fulfilled. The DP celebrates its 60th anniversary during the election year,

“What do we mean with redefining and refining the Democratic Party of St. Maarten? Redefining means to look at certain things in a new and different way and refining means refining the stronger points that we  traditionally have had  and make them actual for today,” the DP leader said.

“Where we stand today as a political party and a country is extremely important; 2014 is a pivotal year for the  country and the party. It will mark 60 years of the existence of the Democratic Party,  and I have been at its helm for twenty of those years. 2014 Will also see the elections for the second parliament  of the country. The DP  is poised to be the first one to move out of the starting gates going into 2014 with a clear vision.”

Wescot-Williams said that she wants to see the DP as the first political party to move out of the gate with new ideas and new approaches. “Not only with regard to the election but also with regard  to how we govern the country that we love so much.  I want the Democratic Party to  be the year-round  party in tune with the people; one, which people will ask to be affiliated with. For this to become a reality a lot of serious work  needs to be done.”

The  DP leader mentioned that the party went into the 2010 election  with its  share of challenges, “but as far as I am concerned we have lamented enough. It is time to move on and to mean something for all of  the people of St. Maarten. For  the next election, we are not going for quantity but we are going for quality  as we chart the way forward. Stability, knowledge,  and a realistic hopefulness will be key themes.”

The general membership meeting gave the party the mandate to amend the articles of incorporation to reflect these views of the party membership.

“We have heard passionate presentations from the party’s young people to address the issues they find important. I believe that we have to pick up the proposals of the young people and move forward to re-establish the party’s political   youth forum,  to educate young people about politics and the political system, and  also to encourage young people to vote in order to combat the global phenomenon  of voters’ apathy,” Wescot-Williams said

The Democratic Party will hold various seminars about topics like electoral reform, good governance and sustainable development, and about topics geared towards especially the party’s young guard.

“Saying that you have young people on your list but not educating and informing them about the way forward in the interest of St. Maarten and its people will only result in seeing the same irresponsible actions that we have seen within and outside of political parties,” Wescot-Williams noted.

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