United People’s Party (UPP) SXM Sint Maarten
Feb 22 2016
Former Minister of Tourism Connor says pragmatic approach introduced for Carnival and Heineken Regatta Funding while in office
After reading the editorial in one of the local newspaper over the weekend regarding the ongoing outstanding to organizers of two of the largest annual events on the island, leaves me with the conclusion that Government can no longer afford to conduct business as usual and at the same time expect different outcomes. Government as one of the main partners in marketing the country should explore how it can operate outside what has become the norm for these particular events.
As former Minister of Tourism, I initiated an approach aimed at addressing this ongoing issue from a pragmatic perspective. This approach would have ensured that the organizers would not be left in a financial predicament year after year. Considering that government’s subsidy is to fund the marketing promotional activities of these events, my approach was to apply the K.I.S.S. method. This method would ensure that the activities surrounding the events would remain straightforward and measurable.
This approach was also well received from the two organizations as it would not require the cumbersome process of having to supply bureaucratic reporting such as audited financials etc. Rather, this approach would allow Government the opportunity to manage its cash flow and disbursements.
In addition, I recommended to the organizers that in the spirit of true and real public private partnership, the funding allocated to the events were to be earmarked to the Tourist Bureau. The Tourist Bureau would be charged with the execution of the organization’s annual marketing plans for the events.
If time had permitted, a committee would have been installed comprising of members of the ministries and/or departments such as Culture, Finance, Tourism, and SCDF and Heineken Regatta Organizers. This committee would be spearheaded by the Minister of Tourism, as the person charged with the responsibility and financial accountability of the portfolio on behalf of the Government and people of St. Maarten.
For the sake of continuity, the committee would have been co-chaired by the Secretary General Ministry as this position in the organization of Government is the one that is consistent (as Ministers come and go). Once established, the committee would meet quarterly to set up and put in motion the marketing plans for the events in advance. The meetings would have taken on the business model approach, which entailed measuring the ongoing progress of the marketing efforts; while adjusting the plans as needed.
I believe that this approach would have addressed the ongoing challenges and establish a more pragmatic oriented solution with measurable processes built in. In other words, the Tourist Bureau’s and our marketing representatives in the US, South America, the Caribbean and Europe would be able to focus on executing the marketing efforts for the events in the various markets. In addition, advertisements for these activities can be featured annually in exclusive publications that cater to the niche markets.
Contrary to what is often publicly spoken, our good professional civil servants at the Tourist Bureau and those who represent us abroad are dedicated and desire support and leadership that would aid them to maximize their abilities in promoting St. Maarten and all that we offer to our visitors.
In addition to the events, our marketing efforts can include other aspects of St. Maarten that the visitors can take advantage of during their visit for a given event. This will create opportunity for Government to better monitor spending patterns, control and manage its marketing cash as the funds would be spread over longer periods.
As it is now, Government must issue funds once or twice a year in large amounts. As a result of the tardiness associated with disbursement of the funds earmarked for marketing of the events, its effectiveness seldom materializes and in the end there is little positive return on our marketing investment.
Former Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs Claret Connor.
Feb 17 2016
Inauguration of Tortola Pier Park
Tortola’s new pier should spur St. Maarten revival says Heyliger
TORTOLA, BVI–St. Maarten has a leading role in the cruising world, but must keep a watchful eye on the developments of other destinations close to home, says United People’s (UP) leader Member of Parliament Theo Heyliger.
The newest development close by is the Tortola Pier Park, inaugurated on Tuesday afternoon on the British Virgin Island of Tortola. Heyliger was among the dignitaries invited to the inauguration.
“Tortola as definitely come long way. This island was once only known for attracting avid sailors. Now, things are evolving and with large international cruise partners, Tortola is on the move and is ready to make its mark on the cruise industry,” said Heyliger.
St. Maarten as a mature cruise tourism destination must be more innovative to keep ships coming into Great Bay, he said.
“The opening up of newer somewhat uncharted cruise destination is a wake up call for all of us on St. Maarten. Our destination needs to become more visible and it must offer more incentives for cruise lines to offer their passengers, Heyliger. “It is not only about going to the beach and duty free shopping. We have our work cut out for us and we need to think fast and strategically.”
Heyliger, who was a long- time tourism commissioner for St. Maarten, said the time is well past for minimalist action. “St. Maarten needs great ideas and partnerships with the cruise industry must be renewed and strengthened,” he said.
Finding ways to refresh St. Maarten as a destination and attract cruisers who will be enticed to become stayover and even timeshare or vacation home owners are paramount so is boosting the businesses that exist on St. Maarten, Heyliger said.
Businesses are attracted to places where they can thrive, grow and expand and the Tortola Pier is just such a place for several St. Maarten established businesses, the UP leader said. “Some six St. Maarten businesses have a presence in the Pier. We in St. Maarten must ask ourselves what more needs to be done to get such businesses to expand at home to boost our economy and create more employment,” he said.
Heyliger’s presence and his pioneering efforts in St. Maarten, especially in the cruise sector were acknowledged by BVI officials at the inauguration. Notably, BVI Minister for Communications and Works Mark Vanterpool said he was proud to learn from speaking with Heyliger that he was “impressed” with Tortola’s accomplishment.
Tortola expects about 700,000 cruise passengers this year. That number is projected to grow to a solid one million in 24 months.
Heyliger said Tortola’s strong push into cruise tourism and the continued growth and development of neighboring St. Kitts should not be taken lightly. “We need to make St. Maarten better by remaining on the cusp of innovation and find more unique experiences to offer our visitors,” Heyliger said.
Jan 9 2016
HEYLIGER FORESEES NEW CASINO LICENSES, POSTPONEMENT OF ELECTION… TOURISM AUTHORITY and INTEGRITY CHAMBER OUT THE DOOR!
~Short term contracts will continue while the public must wave goodbye to affordable housing through starter homes and a much needed sewage upgrade~
Governor Eugene Holiday may have said September 26 is the final date for elections in the December 14 national decree, but United People’s (UP) party leader Member of Parliament (MP) Theo Heyliger says there is “a huge possibility” the Coalition of Eight, at least by mid-year, will request “yet another postponement” of the ballot.
The postponement of the elections, issuance of at least new two casino licences, the formation of new marketing firms, rather than the implementation of the tourism authority, the non-institution of the integrity chamber by the Coalition and the resulting silence of the Dutch Government are among the top 10 things, Heyliger says, will happen in 2016.
Heyliger said Thursday, “The National Alliance leader said in a past Council of Ministers press conference he will seek the support of the kingdom government on electoral reform. It was a subtle hint, but a telling one, nevertheless. Why seek the help when he was clear only a week before that statement that no outside assistance was needed to bring about reform.”
The “only assistance” the Coalition can be seeking from the Dutch Government is “consent to allow another change of date to bring about yet another stumbling block for democracy. Yet another way to thwart the progress of St. Maarten,” Heyliger said.
“Of course, the Coalition may well get their wish. After all, it is clear the same rules does not apply as when UP is in office. A UP Government making any change to an election date would have been decried totalitarian and, as leader, I may have been labelled worse,” he said.
Heyliger’s second prediction for 2016 is the Integrity Chamber will not be instituted. “The Dutch Government won’t say anything. After all, the National Alliance voted against the Integrity Chamber. The DP will forget about its integrity campaign. The matter will go dead after all the threats to St. Maarten’s autonomy,” he said.
The Coalition will issue two new casino licenses, said Heyliger. “One casino licence will be issued for the harbour and another for the airport. What will be the reason the Coalition will give? The need to stimulate economic activity and revenue for Government, via its companies. Again, the Dutch Government won’t say anything. There will be utter and complete silence as there will about the Casino Gaming Board,” he said.
Two more casino licences coming onboard will result in a drastic change in approach by the Coalition to collect casino fees, Heyliger forecasted. “Finance Minister Richard Gibson will take a radically different stance on the collection of casino debt; citing Government’s needs to readdress the situation. After all, it’s supposed to be an election year and there will be two new casino licences, two of the thorns that were in the side of UP, or, should I say, two of the reasons the UP coalition was broken by former coalition members,” he said.
The Coalition will also issue a number of taxi and bus licences without taking into consideration the number of licences already on the road, Heyliger said. “There will be no study, impact assessment, nothing. It will be done and it will be done quietly, but we will be watching,” he said.
The push to amend the Labour Laws by the National Alliance to address the short-term labour contracts will cease, Heyliger said. “Think about the businesses that thrive on short term contracts and think about the two licences that will be issued by NA to keep its coalition together. Also, think about it in terms of it supposedly being an election year,” he said.
The St. Maarten Tourism Authority (STA) will not come off the ground, said Heyliger, “Rather, new marketing firms will be contracted without private sector involvement. Tourism will continue to suffer and the people of St. Maarten by extension,” he said.
Affordable housing via starter homes will be stalled, said Heyliger. “One member of the Coalition was all about housing for the people. Now, there is silence and not even a cornerstone has been laid,” he said.
“Same with the sewage plant. The need has been lost in the crush to halt everything the former Cabinet had been working on. The sewage situation will continue to be a health hazard and, again, it is the people who will continue to suffer. The Dutch side will be made to look like an unreliable partner for our French side counterparts on the sewage project,” said Heyliger.
“The stalling of the hospital project has already been predicted and it is coming to pass as the days go by. It is the method of this Coalition to make everything appear sinister to distract from the fact that they do not have solutions or answers nor can they successfully get anything of true worth to the people of the country,” Heyliger said.
Jan 8 2016
“Theo gives away 60.000 pencil cases”
Philipsburg – Leader of the United People’s Party (UP) and Member of Parliament (MP) Theodore “Theo” Heyliger once again visited several elementary schools this week. MP Heyliger is giving away pencil cases to students who annually look forward to this kind gesture. As customary a motto is printed on the pencil cases which serves as a motivation for the students. This year the motto was inspired by a close friend of the MP that has since passed away; “Theo says: Education is the key for living well.”
After 10 years of the annual give- away program, MP Heyliger has now given away 60,000 pencil cases in total to our students.
This year it was decided to give away the pencil cases at the beginning of the second school term based on feedback received from teachers. The teacher’s stance was based on students normally being well equipped with school supplies at the beginning of the school year verses running out of school supplies midway during the school year.
MP Heyliger and his team will continue visiting schools until Friday ensuring that all students and staff members of the various school receive a pencil case. “Education and the general welfare of our child will always be held close to my heart,” MP Heyliger concluded.
Jan 7 2016
Bye Bye Hospital
Theo: Hospital should be a priority
PHILIPSBURG–The health and well-being of the St. Maarten people are not to be taken lightly, says United People’s (UP) party leader Member of Parliament (MP) Theo Heyliger as he questioned why the Coalition of Eight has not put focus on the creation of a new building for St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC).
Heyliger said this week it was quite interesting to listen to National Alliance (NA) leader Prime Minister William Marlin announce at the last Council of Ministers Press Briefi ng for 2015 that a top priority for the Coalition was the still-to-be-occupied Government Administration Building.
“The former Cabinet had worked on an option to bring about a new hospital for the people of St. Maarten. The bettering of the infrastructure of the hospital has been a focal point for UP and its coalition partners. Much work had been put in to get this vital project started, but it appears that it has been shelved by the Coalition,” Heyliger said.
The UP leader said the health of the population should be foremost on the mind of any Government.
“The best way to serve the people is take care of things that directly affect them. The hospital is one such place,” he said.
The “new” Government administration building on
Pond Island has been a “sore point” for all Governments since its ground breaking over a decade ago, said Heyliger.
“I have heard it called everything from a pigeon coop to a white elephant with a green cap. It is here and, yes, it needs to be completed for Government to move into.
But, that’s for Government.
The hospital is for every citizen, resident and visitor who comes to our shores,” he said.
“As we open a new year, the health and well-bring of the people of St. Maarten, as it has always been, is foremost in my mind. We cannot grow as a country or as a people without health and the access to proper healthcare. The medical staff and management of the hospital provide a vital service to our community. It is time they provide that service in a much better equipped facility,” Heyliger said.
Jan 4 2016
UP Leader and Board wishes populace a healthy, safe and prosperous New Year. Formidable Opposition Role Forthcoming in 2016
PHILIPSBURG – The United People’s Party (UP) Leader Theodore Heyliger and board, extend best wishes to all Sint Maarteners/Saint Martiners for a healthy, safe and prosperous New Year.
“The Year 2016 should be a year where the community and business sector work together for a better Sint Maarten. Significant progress must be made on a number of fronts in order to balance the 2016 budget, reduce crime, create jobs, improve health care, re-align education, youth welfare and much more. Government has its responsibility and we will hold them accountable.
“Preparations were well underway for the people to go to the polls in February. With a change in Government, we now live in a time of uncertainty.
“On December 14, 2015, the right of the people were taken away by the Marlin Cabinet to go to the polls in February. This was done out of self-interests and opportunism while the economy and the people of the country are left to suffer.
“This was not done in the interests of the people as they like to preach, because the people wanted to go to the polls in February. The business community came out and favoured elections in February, because they know that the economy of the country needs stability in order for it to grow.
“December 14, 2015 will forever be a dark day in the democratic and constitutional history of our country, when the right of the people was taken away. This was a defining moment, and the people will not forget. The UP faction in parliament fully supports electoral reform, but not in a Band-Aid format. We will question every detail of the Marlin Cabinets Band-Aid solution and hold the Government accountable when the time comes.
“The people of this country can expect a strong opposition during the coming nine months. We will continue to fight for the people as we have done in the past. In September 2015, the UP and its coalition partners lost its parliamentary majority when two MPs from the UP Party defected. Their faith are now in the hands of the people of this country.
“Today, we sit as members of the opposition and ready to fulfil this role. We will fight to make sure that the people’s quality of life does not deteriorate under this current Government. We will point out where this Government is going wrong and propose ways and means that will provide the country with opportunities.
“We will hold the Marlin Cabinet responsible for not performing in the interests of the people. The Marlin Cabinet has 100 days to get their act together and produce. We will hold them accountable for every decision taken. We will question where the transparency and motivation is so that the people of this country can judge when the time comes.
“In order for our country to move forward, as a community along with the business sector, we must work together. Our agendas must provide opportunities to continue to improve the quality of life for our people. We are still awaiting to see what the Coalition of Eight will achieve during the next nine months, because according to them, the Marcel Gumbs Cabinet did not achieve anything during its nine months in Government.
“The Marcel Gumbs Cabinet set a number of things in motion clearing the pathway to deal with the challenges being faced by our country. It was a process embarked upon that would take time, not three months, six months, or nine months. Responsible and viable options that would build a sustainable economy and nation were being put in place until opportunism and self-interests took over.
“Today, we face uncertainty within this Government, but we are confident that with the hard work of the people of Sint Maarten along with the business community, we will be able to overcome and provide some semblance of stability until September 2016 when the people will decide the fate of those who took away their right based on their opportunism and self-interests.
“On behalf of the UP family, Happy New Year Sint Maarten/Saint Martin, may God bless you and your families throughout 2016,” Member of Parliament and Leader of the UP Party Theodore Heyliger said on Sunday.
Dec 25 2015
UP Leader and Board wishes the nation a very merry Christmas with family and friends
The United People’s Party (UP) family, Leader and board extends Christmas greetings to the people of Sint Maarten and visitors on the eve of Christmas 2015.
“We must remember those in need this festive season as families and friends join together. There has been much tragedy around the world this year, and we must remember the victims and pray for their families during this special time of the year.
“There have been millions of people around the world leaving violence for the fear of their lives, seeking a better way of life. Christmas is a time to give thanks and show appreciation to those within the family and the community. We look at our Police Officers and other law enforcement agencies, the Ambulance Service, Fire Department, Voluntary Corps of Sint Maarten, as well as all the volunteers from civic organizations in our community who do great work throughout the year and every year.
“As families and friends come together for this time of celebration; the exchange of gifts; and lots of eating and drinking; it lifts the human spirit and reveals the magic of the season. During this celebratory period, the joy of the season brings out the best in most of us.
“The UP family wish you all the compliments for the season. May Christmas be filled with peace, joy and laughter, and most of all, to all Sint Maarteners and to all our visitors who are spending the Christmas holidays with us, may all our hearts be filled with hope and love. Feliz Navidad,” Member of Parliament and Leader of the UP Party Theodore Heyliger said on Thursday.
December 16 2015THE GOVERNOR HAS TO EXPLAIN HOW HE ALLOWED PM WILLIAM MARLIN TO HIJACK DEMOCRACY
The board of the United People (UP) party on Tuesday said that by stating that “there can be no further discussion” on whether snap elections will be on September 26, His Excellency Governor Eugene Holiday is creating the impression that he is complicit in Prime Minister William Marlin’s successful hijacking of democracy. “The people of St. Maarten have had their fundamental rights violated and the constitution has been abused, both actions resulting in dangerous precedents being set by the Prime Minister and apparently rubber-stamped by the Governor,” the board said.
The board pointed out that the Governor of St. Maarten went out of his way to seek advice from three judges prior to signing the national decree of the Marcel Gumbs cabinet, delaying his decisions until said advice was provided. When finally he signed the decree the advice of the judges was used as part and parcel of his decision making process. The advice also clearly said that once signed and elections called, the decision cannot be changed. To state that there will be no further discussion is a slap to the people of St. Maarten who deserve a proper explanation.
The national decree of October 29, 2015 to dissolve Parliament and call snap elections by the Marcel Gumbs cabinet, supported by the UP/De Weever/Marlin-Romeo, was set to take effect on December 15. Now, Governor Eugene Holiday, who signed that same decree, signed another decree on December 14 by the National Alliance led coalition, cancelling the previous decree and setting election for September 26, 2016. This new decree, the Governor says, goes into effect immediately. So the first had to wait 6 weeks before going into effect and this one gets the immediate treatment? If, on the other hand, the argument is used that this new decree “regulates” and cancels out the previous, how can you regulate and cancel a decree that didn’t go into effect? And why would it go into effect immediately? What is the legal basis for this new decree?
The Governor needs to explain to the people of St. Maarten what his signature is worth on the first decree. How does one cancel out the other which has already been signed and preparations for the elections were underway. How does the Governor reconcile his decision with the advice given to him by the three judges he approached? How does the governor expect the people of St. Maarten to simply accept “there can be no further discussion” and move on. That statement betrays the reputation of the governor.
“It is evident that the new Prime Minister has successfully hijacked democracy by showcasing the people do not have a say anymore,” remarked the United People’s Party (UP) board in a press release on Tuesday. “The preparations for election and the various advises on the desk of the Prime Minister William Marlin apparently got stuck there with no desire by him to ensure they reached further,” the UP board added. “PM Marlin is blocking advises and the other preparations necessary to host a fair election which would allow the people of our country to express how they feel.”
The UP Board questioned the legality of the new national decree issued by the Honorable Governor in regards to hosting elections on September 26th, 2016. “At this point we have to wonder if this was some sort of trade-off. Was a second term of the governorship in the balance? We hope not as our country’s constitution should be upheld and the people should be given the opportunity to express how they truly feel by the power of the ballot,” the UP Board said.
The board added that one constant remains: A different measuring stick is applied to the UP party and/or UP supported governments. “We see it with national decrees and we see it with campaign and party regulations. The Electoral Council has published that the UP is the only party that was in accordance with regulations as laid down by law, yet we have not heard what happened to those parties, for example, whose finances were not in order. Will fines be applied? What are the consequences of not adhering to these regulations? Had it been the UP, the story would have been very different. A decree supported by the UP was delayed, questioned and advice from judges was sought. But a decree by the National Alliance goes into effect immediately? The Governor has to answer to the people and explain.”
December 15 2015
The national decree of October 29, 2015 to dissolve Parliament and call snap elections by the Marcel Gumbs cabinet, supported by the UP, was set to take effect tomorrow, December 15. Now, Governor Eugene Holiday, who signed that same decree, signed another decree today by the National Alliance led coalition, cancelling the previous decree and setting election for September 26, 2016. This new decree, the Governor says, goes into effect IMMEDIATELY! So the first had to wait 6 weeks before going into effect and this one gets the IMMEDIATE treatment? WHY?!
Friday, December 04, 2015
UP Leader and Board Congratulates Saba on 40th National Day
PHILIPSBURG – The United People’s Party (UP) family, Leader and board extends congratulations to the people of Saba and the Government on their national ‘Saba Day’ celebration which is being celebrated today, Friday, December 4th, and over the Saba Day weekend, the UP Party Board President Sylvia Meyers said on Friday.
Leader of the UP Party and Member of Parliament Theodore Heyliger, has strong family ties with Saba.
“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the people and Government of Saba on their 40th Saba Day celebration. This is indeed a milestone for the little five square mile which is the highest point in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
“There are strong family bonds that exist between Saba and Sint Maarten. Those bonds could never be broken because of the aforementioned. The islands should continue to work together and develop.
“Sint Maarten already works closely together in the tourism field with the smaller islands such as Anguilla, St. Barths and St. Eustatius including Saba as the tourism gateway. There is much that can be done between the islands in order to promote sustainable growth and development.
“Once again, a happy 40th Saba Day anniversary to the people and Government of Saba. May we continue to strengthen our relationship in the years to come,” Member of Parliament and Leader of the UP Party Theodore Heyliger said on Friday.
December 2, 2015 ·
UP board and leader extend deepest condolences to family of gas station attendant. Commend Police for quick apprehension of armed robbers
PHILIPSBURG – The United People’s Party (UP) family, Leader Member of Parliament (MP) Theodore Heyliger, and board extends its deepest condolences to the family of the gas station attendant who was killed in an armed robbery at a gas station in Cole Bay on Monday evening. Condolences are also expressed to the attendant co-workers and friends.
The UP Family would also like to commend for the Sint Maarten Police Force for their quick action in the apprehension of the two armed robbers who committed this heinous crime.
“The UP family extend prayers to the loved ones of the gas station attendant who lost his life on Monday evening. May the Almighty give them strength during this difficult period,” the UP Party Board President Sylvia Meyers said on Tuesday.
The UP Family and Board are of the opinion that the Police Force program of enhanced controls and more presence in the districts has allowed it to apprehend the culprits who are responsible for the murder of the gas station attendant, whereby they were apprehended 25 minutes later after the call came into the Emergency Dispatch Center.
“The assistance of the community also resulted in allowing the Police to apprehend the culprits who took the life of an innocent man who was making an honest living.
“The UP Board is hoping that the House of Parliament will continue urgently with the Central Committee Meeting of Parliament about Crime which was started back in August after the slaying of Police Officer Benjamin. UP MP Franklin Meyers this week already called on the Democratic Party President of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams to schedule such a meeting and we hope that this will take place urgently,” President of the UP Party Board Sylvia Meyers said on Tuesday.
PHILIPSBURG – The board of the United People’s Party (UP) conveys its deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Police Officer Gamali Benjamin who will be laid to rest on Thursday.
“We mourn with the entire country the passing of our local hero who proudly served with humility and honour. We call on the business community as a move of solidarity once again to close their businesses half day on Thursday as a mark of solidarity with the family of Office Benjamin and the Police Force of Sint Maarten. At the same time it would allow employees an opportunity to pay their respects to our hero,” the UP Party Board said on Wednesday.
“On behalf of the UP family, supporters, myself and family, we extend our heartfelt condolences to the family of Officer Benjamin, his colleagues in the Sint Maarten Police Force, his friends, and the population of Sint Maarten.
“Officer Benjamin is a national hero. He like many of his colleagues fight crime on a daily basis. Our country is in mourning and our hearts are heavy. Officer Benjamin is a great loss to his family, a great loss to his profession and country Sint Maarten. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” Leader of the UP Party Member of Parliament Theo Heyliger said on Wednesday.
“We applaud the initiatives outlined by the Minister of Justice to be taken, but we cannot stop there. It remains of paramount importance that all stakeholders positively contribute to curbing crime in our country. It is not only the responsibility of the Police Force and other law enforcement agencies.
“We need all hands on-board to fight this scourge. It starts from every household, every community, Community Councils, civic organizations, social-cultural organizations, church/religious groups, youth groups, girls and boy’s brigades, business organizations and unions,” added the UP.
President of the United People’s (UP) Party
November 23, 2015
UP Party Board: “Goose and gander politics on display by coalition of eight”
Philipsburg — “History surely repeats itself and it seems more so in the formation of the coalition of eight,” the United People’s Party (UP) board said on Monday.
“Imagine the UP-led coalition was heavily criticized for not having a full council of ministers appointed and today the coalition of eight is greeted with the same reality. Out of seven ministerial positions, they were only able to fill five,” the UP board said.
“The National Alliance should have led with the same collective responsibility any coalition faces and not hide behind a press release only promoting their minister nominees having passed the screening,” the UP board added.
“We are closely monitoring the inconsistencies and political rhetoric which clearly indicates of a weak new majority government. It is quite obvious there is an apparent weakness in the new coalition and further testimony is the new recruitment effort of the Democratic Party led-ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour with the placement of an advertisement in the daily newspapers looking for persons to join the cabinet.
“This is unheard of when the DP party cannot find individuals within its own ranks to join its cabinet. It’s a crying shame that they have to resort to this route. It’s widely known the DP membership is in shambles and it seems no better way to recruit new members than by promising cabinet jobs,” the UP board added.
“We will continue to be the eyes and ears of the people who undoubtedly continue to support us knowing all the trials and tribulations we’ve faced during the past 11-months.
“The UP-led government can proudly say that the foundation has been laid for a number of important initiatives for the people of the country, especially with respect to public health where it concerns the expansion of the St. Maarten Medical Center, and public housing for middle class income earners.”
November 16, 2015 ·
PRESS RELEASE – UNITED PEOPLE’S PARTY (UP)
Alliance MP’s and supporters want to chide UP Ministers for “maybe” signing contracts as caretakers. But in 2013 William Marlin had no problem with it when he/they were caretakers. Funny.
November 2, 2015 ·
Funny how things changed…
in January the National Alliance released the linked press release calling for the resignation of MP Matser because of his conviction…
Sept 30th they joined with the same MP who they earlier wanted out of Parliament all together.. Read it for yourself
November 2, 2015 ·
Funny how things changed, in reference to the cabinet calling for parliament to be dissolved William Marlin said the following in the linked article:
“Marlin referred to the political issues that played at that particular time: he had asked the governor to dissolve the parliament and to call new elections. “The governor put the decision about the formation of a government on hold until a decision was taken about this. When we resigned, the governor took our resignation in consideration but in the meantime he asked every minister to stay and to work in the interest of St. Maarten. The governor did not say: you cannot sign resolutions, or you cannot sign contracts or permits.”
The National Alliance leader emphasized that he had “full authority and responsibility” as long as no decision was taken to replace the ministers. “Politically there may have been agreements, but constitutionally William Marlin and all the other ministers had the same rights and authority they had on the day they were sworn in. I want to make that crystal clear.”
NA Party Board calls for UP MP to Resign after Conviction Sentence
13 Jan 2015 Original Source :Published in Soualiga News Today
PHILIPSBURG – The Board of the National Alliance calls for the immediate resignation of United People’s Party Member of Parliament Mr. Silvio Matser. The National Alliance Board is of the opinion, that in light of the verdict that has been handed down to MP Matser by the Court on Wednesday January 7th, 2015, to two years for ‘tax evasion’, that the honorable thing to do would be to step down and relinquish his seat to the people of Sint Maarten.
Sint Maarten has faced extensive challenges in maintaining integrity in its Governance and considering that being elected to Parliament, the highest body in our governmental structure; it would be yet another gross injustice and ill representation of the people of Sint Maarten to have a convicted Member of Parliament continue to retain his seat in light of such a sentence.
This cannot be the state of ‘readiness’ that the United People’s Party chanted to the people of Sint Maarten throughout the election period.
The board of the National Alliance believes that it is critical for the people of Sint Maarten to be reminded, that within three weeks after the Elections of 2014, the National Alliance, Democratic Party & the United St. Maarten Party came together and formed a government and created a complete governing program, which would have been an historical moment in the formation of a government in our country.
This was a true example of ‘readiness’ to govern and to do so with the highest level of integrity. To date the United People’s Party has failed to show their readiness to govern this country due to the lack of the required seven Ministers to govern. Is this how they were “Ready”?
It goes without question that the continuance of MP Matser, in retaining his seat, will only block the efforts of the House of Parliament as it relates to any discussion of Tax Reform.
The board of the National Alliance would also take this opportunity to emphasize, that should the seat of MP Matser be opened, that the next person in line to sit in Parliament would be Mrs. Maria Buncamper-Molanus who currently has a pending case against her.
It is the opinion of this board, that the future of our Parliament remains questionable; would Mrs. Buncamper-Molanus decline the seat in order to preserve the integrity of the highest body?
In conclusion the board of the National Alliance strongly feels that the confidence of the people of Sint Maarten in its elected officials must be regained and maintained. It is only through this practice shall our economy and by extension, the social & cultural fabric of our country be strengthened and sustained for generations to come. (Board of the NA)
Electoral Council Says: UP only Party to Refund Excess Donations. UP only Party to Complete Annual Report/Auditor’s Statement
Philipsburg – During its review of the donation registrations of political parties, the Electoral Council noted that several parties received an excess of what is legally allowed in donations. Both the donors who exceeded the donation limit and the parties were informed about this matter in the month of June of this year. Three parties were requested to return excess donations as is stipulated by law and to submit evidence thereof to the Electoral Council. These parties are the Democratic Party, the National Alliance and the United People Party.
To date, only the United People Party has complied with the request of the Electoral Council and submitted proper proof of refund of the excess donations. The Electoral Council has requested the DP and the NA to submit proof of refund of the excess donations on several occasions.
With respect to the required annual reports of the parties which had to be accompanied by an auditor’s statement, of the six political parties that participated in the last elections, only the United People Party submitted a complete annual report with an accompanying auditor’s statement before the deadline of April 1, 2014.
The Democratic Party and the National Alliance requested an extension to submit the auditor’s statement regarding their financial reports. Despite several reminders the auditor’s statements from the DP and the NA have yet to be received by the Electoral Council.
In the meantime, the Electoral Council has submitted both the annual reports as well as the donation registrations of all political parties and of the candidates to the General Audit Chamber for review and audit, as is stipulated in the National Ordinance on Registration and Finances of Political Parties.
In view of the upcoming intermediate elections, the Electoral Council is calling on all parties to finalize all outstanding matters of the past parliamentary elections of August 2014 before participating in the upcoming elections.
October 28, 2015 ·
New proposed coalition already unable to lead
Philipsburg – “It’s evident already that the new proposed coalition is already unable to lead this country and bring through stability in government which they so proudly professed,” the United People’s Party (UP) Board said on Tuesday.
The National Alliance (NA)/Democratic Party (DP)/United St. Maarten Party (USP)/Silvio Matser/Maurice Lake led coalition, for two days could not even muster a quorum in order for parliamentary business to be handled in the House of Parliament, the UP Board said. On Monday, a plenary session was on the agenda where Members of Parliament would have discussed membership of various parliamentary committees etc. Absent was MP Silvio Matser of the new majority.
“MP Matser stood up on the floor of parliament so adamant to leave the UP-led coalition for reasons yet truly unknown but fails today to take his role seriously,” the UP board added.
On Tuesday, once again the new majority coalition led by NA/DP/USP/Silvio Matser/Maurice Lake, could not muster a majority among themselves to hold a Central Committee meeting regarding double taxation between Sint Maarten and the Netherlands. Absent from the meeting of the new coalition were, MPs Silvio Matser, William Marlin and Frans Richardson.
“MP Marlin needs to balance his responsibilities properly instead of running around the country to form an ad hoc short lived government,” the UP Board said. “We are closely monitoring these developments in parliament especially since much was said with the 8 vs 7 scenario,” the UP Board added.
As the Democratic Party pointed out in recent media reports, indeed the new majority in parliament MPs led by the NA/DP/USP/Silvio Matser/Maurice Lake are once again duping the taxpayers by not being able to muster their majority together. When the UP signed in for the parliament discussion on the Integrity Chamber Law, members of the so-called new coalition were missing in action at the costs of taxpayers.
“Clearly the stability of the new eight member coalition is already in shambles and its reason why we support any call to allow the people of St. Maarten to freely express their democratic right by the power of the ballot,” the UP board stated.
The UP Party Board agrees that this ‘old and outdated political practice’ needs to stop and the NA/DP/USP/Silvio Matser led coalition partners have not stepped up to the plate by not getting their act together.
“Eight seemed to be the new magic number in Parliament but they have failed in their responsibility by not showing up to support meetings of Parliament. The new majority coalition needs to show some sort of political maturity to lead, and so far they have been miserable at it to say the least,” the UP board concluded.
October 19 2015 source The Daily Herald
PHILIPSBURG–Winning the most seats in an election is not the cure for the instability of Government, it is but the start of a very shaky process, especially when individuals forget the premise on which they ran in the elections and decide to fight for self-advancement, says United People’s (UP) party leader Member of Parliament (MP) Theo Heyliger.
Heyliger, speaking to The Daily Herald on Sunday, stated: “I gave up significant political power for a stable government, but self-interest still prevailed within the party. UP won seven seats in the last elections, the most of any party, and was shut out from the process early on. The then-UP team worked from the start to better St. Maarten and managed to get first a slim majority coalition of eight. We expanded to 10, decreased to nine and were back at 10 in January.”
As of September 30, the country is “again in a holding pattern. Now, not much can be done since the start of the impasse between the National Alliance-led group in Parliament and the Council of Ministers, which is fighting to see stability return to our country,” said Heyliger.
Asked why he supports the Marcel Gumbs Cabinet’s call for a new election just over a year after the last one, he said: “It has become too ridiculous. How often will we continue to do the same thing and expect a difference result?
“Everyone in the community, no matter which side of the fence they are on, is aware and understands our system is flawed. The system allows for instability instead of stability. The system holds parties accountable and as the framework for running a campaign, but the party and, let me add, party loyalty, dies when the election results are announced.
“My stance is, let’s go back to the people of St. Maarten. I firmly believe the people are indeed tired of the constant movement in Parliament that has taken place over the past five years. I believe they realise that coalitions don’t work, but they are also aware that party loyalty will not often hold out in the face of personal interest.”
So what is the remedy? Heyliger said: “Snap elections will hopefully solve one of the hurdles, depending on the will of the people. They will either give one party a solid majority with a firm mandate or determine that parties must govern the country in a coalition setup.
“Whatsoever their desire, their elected representatives must, without thought of self-interest and worry about their next term in office, make some unpopular, at least for some politicians, decisions on firm electoral reform. We have to deal with instability at the root, because we cannot determine what’s on anyone’s mind at any moment.”
A broad-based coalition representative of what the majority of the people wanted as per the election results was striven for, he added. “I said from the very beginning my goal was for stable government. I, and by extension UP, relinquished some of its power in government by giving coalition partners almost or equal responsibility.
“To those UP members and coalition partners who continue to stay true to UP’s call of inclusive government, we will hold fast to see that St. Maarten is no further pushed into stagnation by self-interest.”
It is “understandable” that there are “mixed feelings” about elections again and so soon. “I have mixed feelings myself. I hear people in our community talk about not voting if there is an election, as the ballot makes no difference. I can say to them, ‘I understand your feelings.’ At times, I have even wondered about the merit of running again in an election, much less casting my individual ballot,” Heyliger said.
While the country waits on the “panel of wise men judges” installed by Governor Eugene Holiday to provide advice on whether the Council of Ministers should resign in face of the September 30 motion of no confidence or the ministers’ call for dissolution of Parliament takes precedence, St. Maarten is at “a standstill,” said Heyliger.
“And what is stalled by self-interest? Let me tell you – the expansion of the medical centre, furthering of housing projects, the waste-to-energy plant, bettering education, and so much more. And you can say, we have heard it before, but just know that headway has been made with all of these projects, including the medical centre. Had it not been for rampant self-interest above the health of our people, we would have broken ground very soon on that project,” he said.
“Did the MPs who left the coalition know what was at stake? Yes, they were aware of government efforts to achieve progress for this country in spite of the financial shackles of CFT [the Committee for Financial Supervision – Ed.], and the big stick the Dutch Government has been threatening to beat us with since attaining so-called country status. I think the better question is ‘do they care?’ Do they care that this impasse, this shifting, has harmed St. Maarten most of all?”
“Many people are focused on the impasse between Parliament and the Council of Ministers, but we need to focus on what the shifting of political allegiance and the abandonment of loyalty have cost our country,” Heyliger said.
St. Maarten was “starved by the Dutch” of the promised stable footing and debt relief that was to come “wrapped with a larger orange bow” as of October 10, 2010. “We all know what happened after that. Many years ago, our salt fed them. Today, as we say locally, we have to suck salt, if we had any left,” he said.
The reality is that without that stable start position, Government via the Finance Minister has had to manoeuvre to produce “even the skinniest of skeleton budgets. A financial instruction was still given (remember the Dutch stick) to us to fix our budget with zero money. Deadline is looming to cross this hurdle, but instead the country is bogged down by the gluttony of some hungry political leaders and the self-motivation of some MPs,” he said.
“The draft 2016 budget still has to be handled, but the people are not being told by this new coalition of people who so love St. Maarten that failure to address the financial instruction to the satisfaction of the Dutch and not having the 2016 budget in Parliament for debate in time will not cost the new coalition anything. However, it will cost the people dearly and possibly in forced taxes by the Dutch,” Heyliger said.
October 9, 2015 ·
PHILIPSBURG – On Friday afternoon the Prime Minister of Sint Maarten Marcel Gumbs issued the following statement with respect to the current state of affairs regarding the constitutional stalemate of the country.
Here is the text (below) and the audio file: https://www.sendspace.com/file/5i2lbh
“My fellow St. Maarteners,
“I want to address you now directly, after a week of political turmoil which has culminated in a constitutional crisis. The outcome of this crisis will determine the democratic future of St. Maarten. So it is extremely important that everyone, young and old, understand what it constitutes.
“The legal nature of this crisis however is very complicated, although for some of us it seems to be so simple. You may have followed the discussions in the press. Maybe you have even seen copies of the various advices received which have reached the public.
Unfortunately, these advices are all in legal-technical Dutch. So let me try to explain what is going on in plain St. Maarten English.
“Let me try to do this step by step:
1. In the Parliament meeting of Wednesday, September 30, there were two items on the agenda.
One item dealt with the prosecutor Guus Schram for which the Minister of Justice was requested to be present and which apparently drew all MP’s to the meeting.
The second item was vague, said to be on the situation of government owned companies. None of the ministers was requested to attend the meeting on this second item and this was brought to the table after the Minister of Justice had left Parliament.
2. After statements were made in very general terms about the dissatisfaction of certain MPs with this Council of Ministers, MP Wescott-Williams tabled a motion of no confidence against the entire Cabinet, again in very general terms.
3. The National Alliance and Democratic Party opposition voted in favor of the motion as well as three members of the now-former coalition: MP Richardson, MP Lake and MP Matser. This meant that a majority withdrew its confidence in my Cabinet.
So we had:
2 MPs who jumped ship from the UP faction;
3 MPs who jumped ship from the coalition.
4. None of the Cabinet members was given the opportunity to address Parliament before the vote was taken. I feel this defies the rules of propriety and common decency which Parliament should observe.
5. Shortly after the vote was taken, a letter was delivered to the Governor advising him of the vote of no confidence and of the pretended new coalition, claiming to have a basis for a new government that can rely on the confidence of the majority of Parliament.
6. All this was taking place while I was travelling. I heard of the vote of no confidence while in transit in Puerto Rico, on my way back to Sint Maarten. After my arrival, I consulted with several constitutional lawyers to consider the options and called a meeting of the Council of Ministers.
7. The options available centered around the interpretation of two very important articles of the Sint Maarten Constitution:
Article 33-2 states that a minister, who no longer can count on the confidence of Parliament, should vacate his or her function. This article and its explanatory notes do not say when exactly this has to take place, which is connected to the second article.
Article 59 states that Parliament can be dissolved by Landsbesluit (Resolution), so new elections can take place. This requires a decision by the Government, which means that the Cabinet prepares the decision which is signed by the Governor and then co-signed by the responsible minister, in this case yours truly.
8. The Governor represents the King as the head of Government, but these types of decisions must and can only be taken under the political responsibility of the Cabinet. If the Governor has his doubts about the wisdom of a decision, the Constitution allows him to warn or advise the Cabinet. Unless he takes the decision to the Kingdom Government, ultimately the Governor has no choice but to sign the decision as deemed necessary by the Cabinet. Only then can the Governor function above all parties.
9. Given the legal complexity of the situation, I am the first to acknowledge that the Governor found himself in a difficult position. However, the fact remains that he up to this moment:
· he has not signed the decision to dissolve Parliament and to call elections;
ignored the political responsibility of my Cabinet;
chose to prepare the formation of another Cabinet, without having the authority to do that.
10. When this became clear, we sought the advice of some of the most important scholars in constitutional law in the Kingdom, four in total. One of the four professors supported the view of the Governor. Three of the four supported the view of the Cabinet. They explained the fundamental importance of the combination of article 33-2 and article 59, since this presents the balance of powers in our Constitution. This means that Government, struck by a Parliament that withdraws its confidence, has the power to strike back by calling for elections. Then solving the conflict is brought back to the people, the roots to this great tree called democracy.
11. When I was sworn in as Prime Minister, like all members of the Cabinet, I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution of our small country, so help me God almighty. That and that alone is what we are trying to do and what I have been fighting for this past week. If the highest levels of Government do not comply with and respect our Constitution, then God help us all!
12. With the entire Council of Ministers, I stand firm in my resolve to protect the Constitution of St. Maarten. Contrary to popular belief, this is not being done because I want to remain prime minister, but because that is what I undertook and swore to do when I accepted to come back from the calm life of retirement, with the blessing of my family, to take up the honorable challenge of becoming your Prime Minister.
13. Knowing what options were open to us, the Cabinet weighed the facts and considered the possible consequences. The facts we discussed were:
a. There is a motion of no-confidence against the entire Cabinet. This motion is motivated in general terms only and none of the Ministers was given the chance to address these terms before the vote. And the motion was signed by some of the very same people who created some of our biggest problems!
b. This Cabinet has been in office now for about 10 months and was forced to spend most of its time putting out fires and navigating serious legislative and operational problems that were left to us by our predecessors. There are, to put it mildly, an awful lot of lingering issues to be dealt with. Expecting this Cabinet to solve all legacy issues in ten months, when they were not addressed for four years, is expecting us to walk on water or change water into wine. Still, it seems that in St. Maarten even Jesus Christ himself could be sent home with a motion of no-confidence.
c. This Cabinet is the fourth since the start of our Country status in 2010 and the first since the 2014 elections. If my Cabinet would have bowed for the majority in Parliament as of September 30, that would mean the start of a 5th Cabinet since 2010. While you, the people, were only allowed to vote once. Going on in the same rate, by 2018, the next year for regular elections, St. Maarten could have 10 Cabinets …………. which will achieve nothing and leave us economically and constitutionally stagnated.
d. It would be the third time since our new Country Status that the Cabinet would change after some MPs, between elections, “jumped ship” from the coalition and others from their own party. Some see the Caribbean as the place where the Carnival never stops. That may be so, but in St. Maarten we must stop the Carnival Coups! They only serve to hinder our country’s progress and damage its international image.
e. There seem to be no real political motives, let alone political principles, behind all this “ship jumping”. Therefore rumors are rampant in our community that the motives would be self-interest or even plain money. I cannot make a substantiated judgment about such rumors. All I can say is that I put my trust in you, the people, to now vote from your conscience and your conscience alone for representatives who, in turn, really deserve your trust.
f. Our small country had the dubious honor to be the subject of no less than three integrity reports, of Wit-Samson, of PriceWaterhouse Coopers and of Transparency International. All three reports highlight “ship-jumping” as an issue that damages the reputation of St. Maarten and undermines integrity of our Government and other institutions.
g. Due to all the fire-fighting we were forced to do these past 10 months, we have not been able – yet – to come up with proposals for electoral reform to curb “ship jumping”. But such proposals only have a chance with the support of Parliament. Such a change needs a clear mandate from the people to deal with this once and for all. As it is now, true electoral reform is as feasible as expecting turkeys to vote for Thanksgiving.
14. Having weighed all these facts, we have considered the options:
Either, we take the path of least resistance offered by article 33-2 of our Constitution by resigning immediately. Then, a 5th government would take our place without the intervention of the voters.
Or, use the countervailing power of Government laid down in article 59 of our Constitution and let the people of Sint Maarten decide who, in their opinion, deserves their trust.
15. The choice was not easy, because of the deep controversy that has developed and that you all are now a witness to. My Cabinet consists of seven members who are not out for themselves. For the love of our Country, we are committed to ensure and improve:
sound financial management.
16. These may seem empty words to you in light of the activities of previous ministers and Parliament, but I can assure you, for us they are not. For this agenda we need a sound majority from MP’s who can be trusted, not by us, the Cabinet, but by you, the People.
Not much more than a year ago, the second or third “generation” of “ship jumpers” was voted into Parliament. We may have our suspicions or doubts what this has brought them. But we cannot have doubts where this has brought the Country. Are the people of St. Maarten now prepared to cast their votes for candidates who really stand for “Country and not for self”? If it is up to my Cabinet, that is the question that will now be brought to you. I thank you for your attention.”
UP board extends deepest condolences to the people and Government of the Republic of France
PHILIPSBURG – The United People’s Party (UP) family, Leader and board extends its deepest condolences to the people and Government of the Republic of France who experienced the worse terrorist attack on continental Europe in recent history, UP Party Board President Sylvia Meyers said on Monday.
“The UP family joins with our brethren on the north side of the island (Saint Martin) and the entire Sint Maarten community, in prayer for all those who have lost loved ones and to those who were injured, may the Almighty give them strength during this difficult period,” the UP Party Board President Sylvia Meyers concluded.
Leader of the UP Party and Team Member of Parliament Theodore Heyliger, pointed out on Monday that it is of paramount importance we all realize the need to ensure that democracy continues to prevail throughout the world, even on our piece of paradise here in the Caribbean.
“So join us in thought and prayer for the victims in many other countries who suffer and face extreme violence and blatant acts of terror on a near daily basis.
“We remain steadfast to the cause of ensuring democracy prevails in our country and stand in full solidarity with our French brothers and sisters especially during this difficult time,” MP and Leader of the UP Party Theodore Heyliger said on Monday.
September 1, 2015 ·
PRESS RELEASE – UNITED PEOPLE’S PARTY (UP)
PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD
Monday, August 31, 2015
UP board extends deepest condolences to Johnson Family and Stuart Johnson Secretary General
PHILIPSBURG – The United People’s Party (UP) family and board extends its deepest condolences to the family of the late Mrs. Linda Marie Johnson, especially her son Stuart Johnson, Secretary General of the UP Board, UP Party Board President Sylvia Meyers said on behalf of the party on Monday.
“Linda Johnson has been like a mom to many of our board members and an unwavering supporter. We will surely miss her advices and quick wit,” the UP Party Board stated.
“The UP family is now in deep mourning, and pray for strength during this time of bereavement for her family and dear friends. May her soul rest in eternal peace,” the UP Party Board concluded on Monday.
April 2016: “Gear Up”
The United People’s Party
UPP Sint Maarten
Leader Theodore Heyliger
Deputy Leader Franklin Meyers
President Sylveria Meyers
Founded 24 July 2010 6 years ago Youth wing UP Next
Parliament of Sint Maarten
The United People’s Party (Dutch: Verenigde volkeren partij) is a political party in Sint Maarten founded in 2010. The party currently holds five seats in the Parliament of Sint Maarten.
2010 UP Next
In 2014, the youth arm of the United People’s Party “UP Next” was launched at the Hard Rock Café in Phillipsburg, Sint Maarten.The group is expected to increase in its size as the political party prepares for the 2014 Parliamentary elections that are scheduled to be held in late August 2014. The objective is for the youth wing to engage the candidates in discussions regarding the politics and will ensure that they have proper reading material to help in the way forward. It is expected that they will be taught about the way government and the Parliament function. The UP party is expecting them to be the voice and to see the vision of the party.The group consists of young people between the ages of 15 and 19 were quite vocal in their approach to politics.(Source: Wikipedia)
2015 UP Party St. Maarten
August 13, 2015 ·
Official UPP contact number (721) 524-1111