CAY HILL--Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel was officially appointed leader of the Nation Opportunity Wealth (NOW) political party, while suspended MP Claudius “Toontje” Buncamper was appointed Deputy Leader during the party’s well-attended congress at Belair Community Center on Sunday.
The party also introduced three new candidates who will contest the elections on the NOW party slate: Ryan James, Edwin Schoop and Kenneth Smith. All three received an opportunity to address the crowd and expound on why they had chosen NOW and why they chose to contest the elections. All of their messages centred around one primary issue: “People have lost trust and faith in who is currently governing the island and how they are doing it.”
The party’s board consists of Michael Granger, Malaika Hickinson, Christina Lake, Sasha Buncamper and Nicole James. The party board will convene soon to officially recognise the positions on the board. The party board, deputy leader and leader of the party were appointed by acclamation.
The “impressive crowd” of attendees brought Emmanuel to tears. He said he and his team are further energised in the lead-up to the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Emmanuel was overwhelmed with emotion and had difficulty uttering his first few words. “You hope that people hear you, listen to you and support you and the vision for a better St. Maarten. But when you see it in numbers, it gives you further purpose, it reminds you for whom you are fighting and, at least in my case, it was a very emotional moment,” Emmanuel said after the congress.
Emmanuel and Buncamper went into some of NOW’s intentions and ideas, all of which will be outlined in the party’s manifesto.
“The only thing my political opponents like to use is ‘Chris is complaining,’ as if holding them accountable for shady governing and a scandal-ridden administration isn’t the job of an MP. They use these trigger words because they think the people of St. Maarten will fall for it.
“But when we release our plans and vision for this country, what will the excuse be then? This government has given the people of St. Maarten all of the reasons they need to vote them out. They have targeted and destroyed St. Maarteners, made the lives of civil servants hell, taxed our seniors to death, disrespected the police, the nurses, airport workers and let cronies get away with anything they want.
“The people of St. Maarten have been placed at the end of the line with this government. NOW we say enough. NOW is the time to remind them that they govern at the behest of the people of St. Maarten. The NOW is ready to take on the challenge and we hope to secure the support and faith of our people,” Emmanuel concluded.