Members of the newly elected NA board.
~ Jacobs urges members to be informed, speak out, get active ~
CAY Hill–A new board was elected for the National Alliance (NA) at the party’s congress held at the Belair Community Centre on Sunday under the theme “Building a nation – it starts with me.”
Elected were President Leonard “Lenny” Priest, Vice-President Anna Richardson, General Secretary Oswald G. Bell, Assistant Secretary Travis McQuilkin, Treasurer Robert Budike, Assistant Treasurer Harold Richardson, and board member Ludmila York-Duncan.
Harold Richardson was the only member to re-nominated. All new members were accepted unanimously by acclaim of the general membership. No one contested those who had been nominated and all vacant seats were filled.
Silveria Jacobs remains party leader and Rodolphe Samuel deputy leader, as they were elected during the last congress in January 2018.
Priest vowed to work diligently with the new board to continue to move the NA organisation and country St. Maarten to the next level. Plans are already in place to boost membership, improve compliance from members, start district and fundraising activities within this year, and formalise needed structures to regulate the functioning of the party to meet goals set by Jacobs.
Jacobs, who addressed the Congress, thanked those who had come before, honouring their contributions and sacrifices. She has a vision that the party will play a major role to ensure that “St. Maarten is a place where we can all have equal opportunity for growth, prosperity and the fulfilment of our dreams.”
“I see the NA as playing a major role … as we have over the years in various roles secured our seat at the table today. History has proven us a force to be reckoned with, whether in government or out. Our initiatives live on and see a direct positive result for our people, and as a party I am proud of the way we are holding government accountable even now while we are blessed to hold five seats in the legislative branch of government,” Jacobs said.
“In my vision, the organisation called the NA party is necessary for us to continue to grow in representation and bring about necessary change in the culture of elections, governing and legislature. The NA is key to building a nation by mobilising the people all year ’round to be a part of that change.”
She challenged the membership to be informed, speak out, get active and to recruit new members
Jacobs also implored those in attendance to resolve “… never again to stand by as observers or mere complainers, but become doers, actively affecting change they want to see.”
“How can you, each of you, be a part of that change beyond casting your vote at elections?
“ Be informed – attend district council meetings, follow Parliament meetings and Council of Ministers press briefings to hear directly from your representatives; speak out – voice your opinions in district meetings, on social media and stream media in support of your members, holding government accountable and questioning; get active – get active in your communities, be the change you want to see, organise recycling efforts, clean-ups, neighbourhood watches and activities, join your district council, join one or more of the committees of the NA and recruit new members in order to grow the party; support and mentor youth who are interested in joining the party and growing our supporters-base.”
“In this way, my NA members, supporters and friends … you will be making a difference, you will be a living, positive example of St. Maarten, because I am St. Maarten, you are St. Maarten and together we can make St. Maarten the best place on earth to live, work and play in peace.”
She welcomed the new board and urged them to grab the baton and run the next leg of the relay race.
“We run together as an NA. Together, with our individual commitment to this cause, we will take the NA to the next level.
“To each and every one of you I say: Our roots are deep and the foundation has been laid by our forerunners, we are building this nation and this party for the generations to come, and we need you. Politics affects every area of our lives, so like it or not, we are all a part of it.
“Let us resolve never again to stand by as observers or mere complainers, but become doers and actors. Let’s make a difference. … Let’s build our nation St. Maarten together, family by family, community by community until we achieve it. It starts with me, it starts with you.”
Certificates of appreciation were awarded during the event to Angelica Chittick, Herbert Martina and Dennison Philips for outstanding community work post-Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Plaques were also awarded to Felicia James Thomas for years of service and dedication to the St. Maarten Patriotic Movement (SPM), St. Maarten Patriotic Alliance (SPA) and NA; to Frances Gumbs for her stalwart support and being an icon in the community; and to Christina Hodge for outstanding dedication to the community.
Samuel gave the vote of thanks and officiated the election of the board. The report of the outgoing board was delivered by outgoing Vice-President Harold Richardson.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/86077-lenny-priest-elected-na-board-president