PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - During the address of the Leader of the Democratic Party and Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams on the launching of the DP Platform, the PM highlighted inclusiveness, stability and a striving for a steadfast vision for the positive development of St. Maarten as a country and a people.
In the opening remarks to the Democratic Party Platform, Wescot-Williams highlighted the hurdles St. Maarten had to overcome in order to attain country status and what the first Parliament and Government of St. Maarten as a Country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands meant for its citizens; “The first Parliament of our country is nearing its end. In a few months the four-year term, which started on October 10, 2010, will be over. The election fever is slowly but surely heating up, as more parties spring up and existing parties polish their gears.
“”The role of the Democratic Party (DP) in the past three plus years has been a remarkable one. Firstly, it was the DP that delivered the first Prime Minister of country St. Maarten, a feat that even today many people ponder.
As the first appointed Prime Minister in 2010, I promised you to; build a strong foundation for the new country; bridge the social and political divides; work for all the people; strengthen the delicate social fabric with strong and lasting fibers and lastly i pledged to make it work,” stated Prime Minister Wescot-Williams.
The Prime Minister stressed that she has begun the process of building the young country to new heights while at the helm of three Governments but that her most important role as Prime Minister was to stimulate and promote the building of the Country; “I have had the opportunity to lead three governments, to run the ministry of General Affairs and to represent our country at many international forums.
“But the most important role has been to encourage, stimulate and promote the building of our young country. We have had some turbulent times and many lessons have been learned. But through it all, the DP has provided the stability and governance and has been the rock on which our country was able to progress.
“In fact, we are convinced that the stability and resilience that our country has demonstrated these past three and a half years is a credit to the steadfastness of this Democratic Party. And I have been privileged to stand at its helm these past twenty years. And so, at this juncture and milestone, we must reflect on how far we have come in spite of it all.
The Prime Minister Explained her commitment, over the past twenty years, towards the building of the country after a difficult road to Separate Status and the oftentimes difficult choices this brought with it; “Many of the last 20 years have been dominated by the efforts to accomplish the political desire as expressed by the people of St. Maarten in the constitutional referendum of 2000.
“I took this mandate of the people, making it my focus and serving it with all the passion and energy I had to give. After many long days and months, we all bore witness to the proud moment of October 10, 2010. Although there were voices of resistance along the way, we held on and we succeeded. Together, we accomplished a feat many described as impossible.
Wescot-Williams also highlighted that, although other political parties underwent significant turmoil, the steadfast leadership of the Democratic Party allowed for various positive developments on the island; “The leadership and stability of the DP during those years allowed for many major accomplishments. We developed our airport and harbor port. We improved education through foundation-based education in all our schools, and provided new vocational training opportunities.
We beautified many places across the country, including Philipsburg and St. Peters. We improved roads, and built round-abouts, community centers, the Festival Village, the Simpson bay Fish Market, The W. Plantz jetty in Philipsburg, the Melford Hazel Auditorium, and a new fire/ambulance department.
We improved our energy infrastructure with new engines for GEBE and installed fibre optic cable. We undertook the very important Social Economic Initiative and helped to improve life for our elderly with repairs to their homes. These are all tangible and visual projects that were integral to the growth and development of our country. And the list goes on,” stated Wescot-Williams.
Checks and Balances
The DP Leader also highlighted that the party has also been building the institutions necassry to govern St. Maarten; “Progress is also about institutions. The DP’s record in this area is equally impressive.
Under the DP leadership, the constitutional foundation was laid, and the institutions that provide the necessary checks and balances like the Council of Advice, the Council for the Maintenance of Justice and the Ombudsman were created. These institutions, as well as the court of justice serve to protect the people against misuse and abuse. They are an important part of any democracy.
The Prime Minister concluded that the country that is St. Maarten today is governed by a new government structure. An accountable and disciplined government that requires knowledge and experience to manage and maximize the new authorities and competencies we have acquired; “We need Ministers who understand and respect the office they occupy and Parliamentarians who will put country first and above all else. St. Maarten needs to continue what the DP has begun with the DP,” concluded Wescot-Williams.
The DP Leadership also announced that information regarding the DP Party Platform would be announced in the coming days. (Contributed by the DP Party)