Marvio Cooks calls out shameless campaigning

Marvio Cooks calls out  shameless campaigning

Marvio Cooks


PHILIPSBURG--Party for Progress (PFP) candidate and deputy leader Marvio Cooks brings attention to the shameless campaigning being done using student athletes.

Cooks, president of Soualiga Youth Basketball Association (SYBA) officially transferred powers to the organisation’s vice president on November 21 at the association’s season opener.

On November 23, SYBA issued a press release informing the public that the association does not condone any political paraphernalia and influence in the association. The article explained that sponsoring and donating to the teams is welcomed and allowed. What is not allowed is the placement of political branding, candidate names, and any other politically affiliated graphic designs or statements on uniforms, water bottles, towels, etc. The article spoke out against the misuse of student athletes for political propaganda.

Cooks: “The rule was enforced as a protection for the student athletes. No political influences. I, as president, found it necessary to protect the student athletes from being used for political points. I transferred powers to the association’s vice president because I did not want the student athletes and association to be subject to any political influences due to my candidacy. What I find shameful is that many of these candidates feigning allegiance to the sport of basketball were nowhere to be found during SYBA’s revival year and inaugural season. Today, I see them taking notice of teams to put their political logos and names on the donated uniforms. Using the team’s need as a moment for political gain. Followed by a political ad using the student athletes’ image and team name to gain political points. It’s shameful and I hope that the public is paying keen attention to who is asking them for their vote,” said Cooks.

He explained that the issue was communicated with the candidate and a response was received stating that the candidate would rectify the matter. Today, there is a political ad on social media featuring the student athletes in politically branded uniforms. Candidates from other parties are hosting events on St. Peters basketball court and having interviews at the offices of National Sport Institute (NSI) after NSI itself stated in a press release that candidates are to stay away from sporting facilities.

The SYBA president explained that, if he hadn’t caught the National Alliance candidate in the act and reminded the team assistant coach that political paraphernalia was not allowed, the team would’ve been made to forfeit their next game or even be disqualified from the season. SYBA said it continues to uphold its ‘no political influence and paraphernalia’ and encourages any donors to please get in contact with the SYBA board prior to donating items to the teams.

“Rules might not matter to them but they do to me. The fact that these candidates are using student athletes in political ads to promote disingenuous donations to help boost their own image is dishonourable. Candidate number 6 on National Alliance did not support and/or participate in any basketball-related sport activities for over four years. Today, during elections, he all of a sudden is on St. Peters court donating politically branded uniforms to a team. These types of candidates cannot say that they want to produce athletes and not have the discipline to follow the rules placed to protect said athletes. Discipline is the foundation that holds up any athlete and these candidates are not disciplined enough to follow basic rules. I just hope that the people of St. Maarten can see through these immoral tactics. Tactics which placed the team’s playing eligibility at risk. They don’t care about the kids! They care about their image,” said Cooks.

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