PHILIPSBURG--St. Maarten Democratic Party’s congress is set for Paradise Event Hall in Cay Hill on January 22. “Consider it a regeneration meeting, during which we will explain the immediate and longer-term approaches of the Democratic Party,” said party leader Sarah Wescot-Williams.
St. Maarten Democratic Party (DP) will be celebrating its 70th year of existence next year. In support of the slogan “DP is back!”, party members and prospective members have been invited to attend the congress in Cay Hill dressed in red outfits.
“It’s more than the usual annual council meeting of the party,” said Wescot-Williams. “To describe it better, it’s called a regeneration meeting.”
The St. Maarten electoral system is based on political parties, but the political landscape has changed drastically. “Over the years following the attainment of the status of a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, more and more our system is being portrayed as a personal (individual) political system,” Wescot-Williams said. “This in itself has given rise to the political instability and sometimes hostage-like holds on the governance of the country over the years.”
In an ideal situation, she said, “the party political system should give party members an actual voice in their country’s and party’s affairs.” St. Maarten needs to regain those elements of a democratic system, Wescot-Williams stressed. “In the words of a long-term party stalwart, ‘It should be about country, party and you, in that order.’
“While I know that it is not perfect and political affiliation is every person’s free choice, we either optimise the party system or change the electoral system altogether.”
From this perspective, Wescot-Williams said, “we have labelled the meeting a regeneration meeting, repositioning the DP as the alternative, well-rooted party for leading St. Maarten out of the political morass we find ourselves in today, as well as re-establishing the party’s wing (chapter) of Professional Young Persons CPYP for grooming young persons for a role in the politics of the country.”
Asked whether she will be addressing the upcoming election, the date of which seems to be hanging in the air, Wescot-Williams said: “Most certainly.” And will potential candidates be present at the meeting? “That too, I can answer affirmatively,” she said.
She added that, with respect to the state of the nation, “It is also important that the party presents its vision and position on some critical issues facing our country today. It will not be our manifesto just yet, but surely a position paper that should make it easier for alignment with prospective candidates and others. “
The January 22, 2023, meeting promises to be quite a happening and reunion, Wescot concluded.