PHILIPSBURG–Whether snap elections indeed will take place on February 9, 2016, as has been proclaimed in a national decree signed by Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs and co-signed by Governor Eugene Holiday will be seen when the new cabinet supported by the Coalition of Eight takes office in the coming days.
Democratic Party (DP) leader Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams said at a DP press conference on Monday that there was “sufficient reason” to annul the decree, which calls for Parliament to be dissolved and for new elections to be held next year.
Wescot-Williams, a member of the Coalition of Eight, said one of the first blunders by the Marcel Gumbs Cabinet was the mistake made in the decree of October 28. In that decree, Nomination Day was incorrectly listed as December 23. That error was countered in a special bulletin of the National Gazette issued on Monday morning that contained an updated decree, dated October 29, with the correct date of December 22 for political parties to submit their slates of candidates.
The error with the date is not the only blunder the Cabinet, which resigned on October 28, made, said Wescot-Williams. She said the decree (both versions) was not cohesive and “trashes” United People’s (UP) party’s remaining coalition partners – independent MPs Cornelius de Weever and Leona Marlin-Romeo – “big time” and “throws them under the bus.”
The “trashing” refers to the motivation of the decree that points to MPs leaving their parties with their seats to form new majorities. That squarely points to De Weever and Marlin-Romeo, as they were the first to “defect” from their political parties, go independent and form a new coalition in 2014.
“It would have served them better to just say nothing instead of the motivation,” Wescot-Williams said, pointing to the use of a similar method in the last snap elections in the Netherlands. In that case, the Dutch Cabinet had just issued a decree stating it was dissolving Parliament and established the Election Day without any preamble.
The “ministers make themselves and the people who put them there look ridiculous” with the myriad of blunders with the decree. The cabinet via the decree is “challenging the four-year term of Parliament,” she said.
The Cabinet also constructed the national decree on “wrongful ground” with the aim of skirting the motion of no confidence passed against it by the Coalition of Eight in Parliament on September 30. The Cabinet members think themselves “clever” by drafting a decree that is signed in advance, but only comes into force on December 15, she said.
That attempt at being clever, said Wescot-Williams, appears to be the Ministers’ way of trying to perpetuate the idea that nothing has changed in Government.
The premise that elections can be held without electoral reform as the panacea for the country’s governmental instability is not a good one, said Wescot-Williams, reiterating her stance on the need for urged electoral reform.
She also chided the Cabinet for its statement in the decree about the need to make “far-reaching” decisions on the country’s finances and integrity challenges. She said that while this was stated, the Cabinet to date had failed to tell the public what those far-reaching decisions were and how they would affect the country.
On electoral reform, DP faction advisor Emil Lee, who was also part of the press conference in Parliament House, said, “The people are frustrated, upset and angry” about the current state of Government and want to see more decisive action.”
Elections, he said, would “possibly only change some of the players, but the situation will be the same” without electoral reform. After elections, the anger of the people will “dissipate, so channel that anger now” into electoral reform.
Source: The Daily Herald Sarah sees sufficient reason to annul dissolution decree