Theo Heyliger speaking on SOS Radio.
PHILIPSBURG--Founder and former leader of United People’s (UP) party Theo Heyliger said on Wednesday that the party had been hijacked similar to the way terrorists take over a plane.
He made the remarks during an interview on SOS Radio with host Billy D. Heyliger was alluding to the disregarding of the warning given to the UP to not enter the upcoming elections. Heyliger copywrited the party and its likeness. These include the public names associated with United People Party Association: UP party, United People’s Party, as well as the party’s logos and pan-tone colours.
“The UP was hijacked from me just like terrorists take over a plane. It’s like somebody takes over your radio station and kicks you out,” Heyliger told the host during the interview, when asked about the party’s status.
“It was a whole coup attempt by firing my wife [Grisha Heyliger-Marten – Ed.]. I think that was a very nasty thing. In all of my time, I can’t remember ever firing one of my own and I could remember hearing yes, but that means [that National Alliance Member of Parliament] William [Marlin] is going to throw down the government.
“Can you imagine that another political party is actually the one that is deciding for your political party? And that’s why I have no faith in those people, because if you can’t stand up for your own, then how are you going to stand up for the country? I think really, Billy, what it was was a coup attempt. … In politics, it’s devious behaviour.”
Heyliger-Marten, a former UP MP, resigned from UP and became an independent MP on October 27, 2022, after she was voted out as Chairperson of Parliament. She had said on a radio programme in March that the UP had been given “fair warning” to not enter the upcoming elections.
On Wednesday’s programme Heyliger alluded to a recording in which his family was targeted.
“You had to realise you had [UP current leader MP] Rolando [Brison] and you had [UP MP Sidharth] “Cookie” [Bijlani] in there. Rolando with the tape that came out with him basically calling my wife stupid. Basically, saying that me and my family would never be able to survive in our own country, can’t get a permit in our own country. So, basically, where you want me go.
“I was born in St. Maarten, but okay, you’ve really said we want nothing to do with them and I think what he did with Cookie was say, ‘listen, I will make you President of Parliament if you agree to fire her.’ And Cookie, I think, looked at it like he would be the first Indian to ever sit as President of Parliament – let’s make history and let’s fire Grisha. So, I think that was … very devious,” said Heyliger.
He said Heyliger-Marten cannot be blamed for resigning from the UP.
“You fire me, but then you wanna sit with me the next day and you want me to continue voting along with everything you want to do and you don’t ask me for my opinion. She’s the highest vote-getter on the list. … You must have some sort of respect for that. You must have some sort of respect for what her votes mean. You must have some sort of respect for the population. You must have respect for what the party stands for,” said Heyliger.
He said he had informed the UP that he had copyrighted the name of the party and he intended to stick to that. “The moral thing to do is start your own party and why are you afraid to start your own party?… The UD – the United Democrats – was started maybe two, three months before an election and it was the most powerful party in that election. Won seven seats. Today it has one, but it won seven seats under my leadership – seven seats. So, you can’t tell me that you needed the UP party to do that. No, you could have started your own legacy and I think that would have been the more manly thing to do. You start your own party, you start your own legacy and if you want to call it the Kindergarten Party of the National Alliance you can do that.”
He said the UP has become the cheerleader squad of the National Alliance.
“The National Alliance … has been in more governments since 10/10/10 than anyone else and they have stayed the four years and if that is your call to fame – that you’ve been able to stay four years and that’s the only thing that you can tell me that you have done – stability, but stability that can’t get a building permit, stability that can’t get a business licence, stability that can’t get projects going in the country, stability that I can’t open a bank account, stability that nothing is happening for my senior citizens, nothing is happening for my justice workers nothing new has transpired,” he said.
A former minister and MP, Heyliger was the first leader of the UP party. Since 10/10/10, he had consistently won his own parliamentary seat outright and won up to three seats on personal votes alone. In 2010 he secured 2,908 votes, in 2014 he had 1,945 votes, in 2016 he had 1,428 votes and in 2018 he had 1,299 (as UD party).