SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Former Minister Pamela Gordon-Carty was elected as the new political leader of the United St. Maarten (US) party on Sunday, November 28, and immediately made it clear that the party, in or out of government, will not allow the people of St. Maarten to accept “crumbs in exchange” any longer.
Re-emphasizing that the US has always been and remain on the path to realizing independence for St. Maarten, the new leader said the people must come together and decide that they will no longer tolerate their children to suffer in a St. Maarten that has so much potential.
Gordon-Carty replaced former MP Frans Richardson as party leader at the party’s congress held at the John Larmonie Center and considers herself a person with clear vision on how St. Maarten should move into a challenging future.
“I am so moved by the confidence and trust you have placed in my person to assume leadership of the USP which already is embarking on reactivating and restructuring in order to analyze, assess and examine the challenges our people in St. Maarten is confronted with on a daily basis,” she said.
The new leader assured that the US is not going to promise a one-time fee, but a life of growth and “enhancement of your social life, financial stability, healthy lifestyle, long term employment and a balanced future. We have a plan, and we will execute it in or outside of government because all we need at this phase of the plan is the people,” she said.
Gordon-Carty is described as someone who recognizes that St. Maarten is at a stage where mincing of words will do it and its people no good. As such and in true form, she did not hold back on Sunday evening while delivering her remarks.
“In slavery days they exchanged gold for sea shells. Today, one-time food vouchers are being exchanged for land and the right to employment, the right to fair trail, the right to a dignified existence. Our people have been abused, walked upon and given empty promises. We will lead and our people will no longer exchange their patrimony for sea shells,” she said.
She continued: “If we need to walk on thorns then we will do so because people were made to trample upon all obstacles to achieve freedom and independence, not on paper, but true independence. The walk will be long but together we will reach the promised destination. When I look at St. Maarten I see a lot that has to be done. I also see an abused people, I see injustice toward our people, I see instilled fear, I see great minds being neglected and put aside, I see neglected rights, I see manipulation, deprivation, I see victimization and I can also silently hear the loud cry of our youth.
“But what I can also see is the fear of the strength of the people coming together. I smell the fear of colonialists hoping that one day the people don’t realize that together they stand stronger and that the people don’t come to realize that their breakthrough lies in their own strength. I see a method to keep them distracted and hungry,” she said.
“With small steps we will once again have our people dominate in managerial functions, our people will be employed permanently and not for short term, they will be able to own their own house and be able to pay their mortgage, bills and enough leave over to live a dignified and happy life,” she added
The US leader further called on the people of St. Maarten to stop expecting others/outsiders to do for them since intentions are often not pure and extremely self-serving.
“Don’t expect the colonialists to hand out olive leafs; reality is sometimes its poison ivy. Don’t expect investors to consider you as the solution, in some cases they will slip you a sleeping pill expect you stay in slumbering mode while they take over our high positions, while they take over our beaches and assets, our identity, trample over our culture, manipulate the system to suit their agenda, in return they will take for themselves long term profitable money making patrimonies,” she said.
“I am now making this plea to our people to come together and be part of our numerous educational and informative campaigns in the different districts that will highlight our plan step by step. Let US move together towards success,” she concluded.
Party members also elected Cecil Nicholas as the new President of the board of US. He said the US, under the leadership of Frans Richardson, was founded with a vision and plan “and we hold steadfast to that vision to this day.”
He reminded the gathering that Frans Richardson had the party operating based on his vision of strong leadership for an independent St. Maarten and it is because of his leadership that “we are strong and still moving forward today. We had disappointments along the way, but we never lost sight of our goals. Our bonds are stronger because of the challenges we faced and our resilience is a reflection of the people, because we are just that, a reflection of the people of St. Maarten,” Nicholas said.
“Though some may say we are not ready for independence, my answer to that is so let’s get ready for it because we can no longer afford to sit by and wait to be rescued. The personal cost and debt to the country is too great. I say let’s put leaders in place that have a plan to make us self-sustainable. Let’s make the tough decision at our own pace. Let’s empower our people and not restrict them.
“Let’s safe guard our assets for future generations to come and not give them away to save the day. Let’s place emphasis on making decisions that put us in a better position tomorrow and not just today. Let’s take better care of our elderly and those living below the poverty line. Let’s create an environment where our people can strive by diversifying our economy so that if the World ever shuts down again we can at least feed ourselves without having to rely on the importation of basic foods Let us build an Independent St. Maarten because we can, period!”
As he did in 2014, Nicholas dedicated his new tenure as President of the United St. Maarten Party to Richardson’s vision of an Independent St. Maarten. “And I commit once again to work with my board in the best interest of not only the members and supporters of USP but to the entire country, of St. Maarten. I reemphasize my commitment to upholding the core principle of the United St. Maarten party which is to elevate the nation’s people to operate at their highest levels,” he concluded.
New USP leader Pamela Gordon Carty (center) with incoming and outgoing party board members and former leader Frans Richardson (second from right).