MP Claude “Chacho” Peterson.
PHILIPSBURG–St. Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) faction leader, Member of Parliament (MP) Claude “Chacho” Peterson has resigned as an MP to return his seat to the party, which would enable outgoing caretaker Prime Minister Wycliffe Smith to be able to take up the seat.
Peterson on Monday submitted a letter to Chairperson of Parliament William Marlin, informing him of his resignation as an MP in accordance with article 49, sub 2 of the Constitution.
“Since the formation of the government process in 2018, I always told the Leader of SMCP, Mr. Wycliffe Smith, that I would give back the seat to the party should government fall and he would no longer be Minister. I became MP when Mr. Smith as the highest vote getter (in SMCP) resigned to become Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports in the UD/SMCP (United Democrats/SMCP) coalition. On numerous occasions, I have said it on the floor of Parliament and in the public. It is said that no man willingly gives up power, however, it is with no hesitation that I honour my word to return the seat to the party,” Peterson said.
He said Smith and the party had no qualms with him staying on as MP.
With Peterson resigning, Smith, whose last day as caretaker Prime Minister was on Monday, is expected to become the SMCP MP, once his credentials have been vetted and approved by the Central Voting Bureau and Parliament.
“This past year was a great learning experience. I learned a lot in my freshman year about the role of an MP, the functioning/shortcomings of government but also I was able to see first-hand the corruption which is creating instability and destroying our island,” Peterson said.
“As Faction Leader of SMCP, (I) fought for stability and upheld our word in the coalition to be a team player and work together for the best interest of St. Maarten and its people. During my time in Parliament, I have seen first-hand how the seat of a parliamentarian can be used to manipulate and further promote instability. I have seen how MPs can be lured for months and ultimately convinced to ship jump. I have seen how the floor of Parliament can be used to misguide and misinform the people at times. Yet, in closed door meetings, I have also seen when necessary how unification in Parliament can produce or bring about positive changes for St. Maarten.”
Peterson thanked everyone involved in him having an opportunity to serve since July 6, 2018 as SMCP’s MP, as well as those who provided assistance during his tenure and those who guided him for their support.
“It was an honour to represent the people of St. Maarten as a Member of Parliament. This position is one that should be held with the utmost respect and integrity. I have done so and will continue to do so should I be given the opportunity again.”
Peterson will be contesting the January 9, 2020, snap parliamentary elections as the number 2 candidate on the SMCP slate. “I remain committed to fight for a St. Maarten where good governance and integrity will become the order of the day,” he said.