PHILIPSBURG – Sint Maarten will head to the polls on November 25th . A statement sent out by governor Drs. Eugène Holiday on Monday makes this clear. At the same time, oddly enough, the governor is investigating the possibility of forming a new government.
The governor held an audience last Monday with the caretaker prime minister Leona Romeo-Marlin. During this meeting she presented a draft decree that dissolved parliament and called for new elections. The governor ratified the decree.
Romeo-Marlin also made all ministerial positions, including minister plenipotentiary and deputy minster plenipotentiary available. The governor took the resignations under advisement and asked Romeo-Marlin and her team to continue working until a decision has been made about the resignations.
One day before Romeo-Marlin’s audience with the governor, parliamentarian Silvera Jacobs, leader of the National Alliance, presented him with a coalition agreement. This is a provisional agreement to form a new government without the need for an election.
The agreement was signed by five parliamentarians for the National Alliance, the two members from United Sint Maarten party (USp), and the two members who defected from the United Democrats, Chanel Brownbill and Luc Mercelina.
At the start of September, Franklin Meyers, the leader of the UD fraction in parliament, pulled his support for the coalition but he is not of the signatories of the provisional agreement presented by the opposition.
The elections can drastically change the political landscape on Sint Maarten. Leader of the UD, Theo Heyliger, announced after the last elections in 2018 that those would be his ‘last elections’.
In combination with the departure of Meyers, the future of the once powerful UD – a merger between the United People’s party and the Democratic Party of Sarah Wescot-Williams – seems grim, seeing as it is not known whether Heyliger will change his mind and throw his hat into the ring. Heyliger has been the most successful candidate in all elections since 2010.
Fourteen month lifespan
In any case, Sint Maarten will get its ninth government in nine years’ time. The average lifespan of a government since the island became an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands as of 10-10-10 is about fourteen months.