Volunteers installing plexiglass partitions at the new polling station at Earl N. Merkman Sports Complex in St. Eustatius for today’s, Wednesday’s, Island Council election.
ST. EUSTATIUS–On the eve of today’s, Wednesday’s, Island Council election, politicians were out and about on Tuesday trying to persuade undecided voters in St. Eustatius to go out and cast their votes. Eligible voters will be able to cast their votes for 26 candidates divided over three political parties, monitored by two election observers.
Progressive Labour Party (PLP) candidate Reuben Merkman stated that the PLP/Merkman coalition was removed from office in February 2018. “We were accused of stealing, intimidation, corruption and everything else. None of these allegations were ever proven. All our plans that we were working on were taken over by the incoming commissioners on a much larger scale.”
He said PLP/Merkman had negotiated the NuStar agreement, which still stands; the expansion of the container harbour; and many more projects.
“The Golden Rock Resort, which has become a talking point of economic development in Statia, was spearheaded by the deposed government. It is being said that this progressive team cannot work with the Dutch, but look at what we were able to accomplish in such a short time in office. Our goal then and our goal today still is creating more economic pillars for our island.”
Merkman encouraged everyone to go out to vote today. “Help the PLP party bring economic development back to the island with innovative thinking,” he stated.
Koos Sneek of the Democratic Party (DP) of St. Eustatius stated that the voters will decide the direction in which Statia will go.
“Especially for those of you who are content with the developments on our island it is crucial that you go out and vote, even if you find that voting in this election does not make much sense because we are electing an Island Council with limited authority. This may be the case,” Sneek said, “but it is the first step that the law requires us to take to a full-fledged local government.”
He said that when voters cast their votes for the DP they are indicating that they are in support of the way Statia is moving forward, as well as indicating their wish for good relations with the Netherlands.
“By not going out to vote you take the risk that a party that is opposing the present developments may win the election and the relations with the Netherlands will again deteriorate, and we cannot let that happen.”
United People’s Coalition (UPC) candidate Elvin Henriquez previously stated he is “totally” against a boycott of the election. He said that democracy had been taken away when the people’s voting power was taken away, but now Statia voters have an opportunity to vote. He encouraged voters to use that power and cast their votes.
“I want to urge the community to come out and vote in this election. The time has come for you to cast your vote and hopefully the UPC has convinced you,” Henriquez said.
He said UPC had presented a platform that it would champion with the support of the people and with which change on the island could be made. “Change cannot come without the people’s support,” Henriquez said.
Newcomer on the UPC slate Carmen Nova said she has very innovative ideas. “Persons that know me know that I always follow through on my promises. For those who are tired of broken promises, here is a chance for you to start over. Give us a chance to enact change,” Nova said.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/plp-dp-and-upc-encourage-statians-to-come-out-and-vote