PHILIPSBURG--Party for Progress (PFP) Member of Parliament (MP) Melissa Gumbs submitted a brief letter to Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs on Tuesday, October 17, requesting an update on the trajectory status of the proposed changes to the election decree.
Gumbs, on behalf of the PFP faction, submitted an official request in September 2022, asking that the prime minister consider amending the election decree to remove the dark curtain that hangs behind voters in the booth.
“The request was submitted in the interest of supporting the electoral reform initiatives of the government,” Gumbs said. “Removal of the curtain will be a step towards protecting and securing our democratic processes even further.”
PFP submitted a draft national decree containing general measures LB-HAM earlier this year to further support both its request and the prime minister’s electoral reform goals. In an August 2023 Central Committee meeting of Parliament, Jacobs informed the Parliament of St. Maarten that the Council of Ministers had approved the changes proposed in the draft LB-HAM. From there, the draft would make its way to the Advisory Council for further vetting before being sent to Governor Ajamu Baly.
“With there being close to just a month before postulation day, I believe it’s important to receive an update on that post-approval trajectory,” Gumbs said, noting that her letter requested an update on the LB-HAM’s status, as well as whether the Central Voting Bureau had been informed of the pending change.
“It’s important that the stakeholder responsible for managing and executing our election day is ready for the shift, although I have no doubt they will be. The idea to request the removal of the curtain came from the sessions held between the Central Voting Bureau and party representatives in the last election. ‘A small change that has big impact,’ was the phrase used to describe such a measure. I’m looking forward to it being executed in time for the January 2024 parliamentary election.”