Are women the hope of Sint Maarten? Crises, quarrels and scandals have led to a further decline in confidence in politics on Sint Maarten.

Are women the hope of Sint Maarten? Crises, quarrels and scandals have led to a further decline in confidence in politics on Sint Maarten.

Are women the hope of Sint Maarten?
Crises, quarrels and scandals have led to a further decline in confidence in politics on Sint Maarten. On Thursday, voters on the Caribbean island, an autonomous country within the Dutch kingdom, will again go to the polls. If you are looking for ‘new sounds’, you will find women politicians in particular.

REPORTAGE POLITICS IN ST. MAARTENAre women the hope of Sint Maarten?

Crises, quarrels and scandals have led to a further decline in confidence in politics on Sint Maarten. On Thursday, voters on the Caribbean island, an autonomous country within the Dutch kingdom, will again go to the polls. If you are looking for ‘new sounds’, you will find women politicians in particular.
In the space of nine years, the island destroyed nine governments. Political instability worsened as a large number of male politicians and ministers became the subject of criminal investigations for allegations of corruption and fraud. Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin’s government recently lost its majority in parliament due to apostates within its own coalition.

changes in the political course of the island, and in the dominance of men who chose politics primarily to safeguard their own business interests.

And yes, some of the current female politicians also belong to the establishment, which in the last two years after the devastating hurricane Irma hardly found any answers to the many problems of the island. But at least three women stand out this time. Because they are participating for the first time and are really new. Because they practice political self-criticism and do not always point the finger at the Netherlands. Or through a stiff substantive campaign, in which they also consulted the voters themselves. Preferred votes can then play a very important role.

Melissa Gumbs

Melissa Gumbs admits: she too comes from an established political family. But with her 36 years she is one of the young people on Sint Maarten who make a different sound. The new “Progress Party” (PFP) is their vehicle. Gumbs leads that. Politicians within the existing parties, she says, have primarily defended their own financial well-being. “There is great political fatigue among the population. You could see that in the low turnout in elections. And that ultimately damages everyone’s democratic rights. ”

Rhoda Arrindell

A second politician, Rhoda Arrindell (53), completes this ‘better’ in his own unique way. She is the number five on the list of the UP, the party of Sintmaartens political godfather Theo Heyliger and of the current leader, the rapidly rising popularity of Rolando Brison. Arrindell has decades of experience as a scientist, minister of government, but certainly also as an activist. Full independence for Sint Maarten, a country with an estimated 60 thousand inhabitants, has been the goal for years.

Arrindell has succeeded in getting this aim officially on the UP program. A referendum is planned for its preparation. Earlier, the people of Sint Maarten always indicated that they did not want to give up the passport of ‘the Kingdom of the Netherlands’. That sentiment seems to have changed little. But Arrindell calls the current construction ‘stifling’ for the development of the island. “It is an anachronism to remain a colony in the 21st century.” With that in mind, she does not opt for power politics and individual interest, but puts the socio-economic development of the population first.

Jorien Wuite

The third political woman, Jorien Wuite (55), knows the Dutch side of the kingdom from the inside as a former minister for Sint Maarten in The Hague. She is the number three on the UD list, led by the very experienced Sarah Wescot-Williams. Wuite has also been a minister on the island itself.

political qualifications on the island. Although according to her, the power within the kingdom is still ‘unevenly distributed’, she opts for a critical but constructive cooperation with The Hague.

Fifteen seats

Fifteen seats can be won in ‘the States’, the parliament of Sint Maarten. More than a hundred men and women are candidates. It will have to show how much confidence the voter wants to give the new female politicians. The voter certainly does not want one thing: back to the polling station in a year.
https://www.volkskrant.nl/nieuws-achtergrond/zijn-vrouwen-de-hoop-van-sint-maarten~bbfb5124/

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