PHILIPSBURG--The candidates' lists, placement of candidates and maintenance of party references (name abbreviations) for all six political parties were unanimously approved for the August 29 Parliamentary Elections by the Central Voting Bureau in its first ever public hearing in A.C. Wathey Legislative Hall on Tuesday afternoon.
All five members of the bureau voted by the show-of-hands their agreement that all lists were in compliance with the electoral regulations.
The five of the six parties that submitted candidates' lists and supporting documents on Nomination Day, July 11, were informed by the bureau on Friday of errors with their lists and documents. Those parties had up to Monday, July 21, to remedy the errors. All five parties remedied their specific issues for their lists to be approved by the bureau.
Bureau Head Jason Rogers dealt with the approval of the lists in the order they were submitted to the bureau on Nomination Day. Other bureau members present for the public hearing were vice chairman Willem van Asselt, Clarence Richardson, and Cindy Marica, as well as Substitute Member Khalilah S. Peters and Migdala Artsen-Clarinda. Peters replaced bureau member Maarten Le Poole at Tuesday's hearing and so was able to vote to approve the list. Artsen-Clarinda did not have a vote.
The list and supporting documents of United People's (UP) party's, led by Member of Parliament (MP) Theo Heyliger, were found to have no errors by the Bureau thus did not receive any letter from the bureau on Friday about omissions. UP's list, candidates' placement and party reference to be placed on the ballot were approved by the bureau.
Social Reform Party (SRP) of Jacinto Mock had shorted the 57 of the 138 signatures of eligible voters after endorsement day on July 14. This was remedied and the party was approved by the bureau for the upcoming elections. The signatures represents one per cent of the votes from the September 2010 Early Parliamentary Elections.
Former Commissioner Lenny Priest's One St. Maarten Party (OSPP) did not have all addresses for candidates in order, photographs were not in conformity with the legally required measurements and the declaration from the Receiver's Office was not included in its submitted dossier. These errors were remedied and the party was approved by the bureau for the elections.
The United St. Maarten (US) party, headed by MP Frans Richardson, had some documents missing and the name of one candidate was incorrect. Errors were fixed by party and approval for the elections was granted by the bureau.
The Democratic Party (DP) of Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams had the names of a number of candidates incorrectly stated and had documents missing. These were corrected by the party and it was approved for the elections by the bureau.
The National Alliance (NA), led by MP William Marlin, had errors in its dossier including the names of candidates incorrectly stated and the proof of the party's registration with the Electoral Council was missing. The changes were made and document supplied by NA to the bureau. The party has been approved for the elections.
All six candidates' list has been sent by the bureau to the Civil Registry to be posted for public perusal.
Any eligible voter, by law, can file an objection to the bureau's approval of any of the six parties for the elections within two days of Tuesday's sitting (so by Thursday) with the Court of First Instance. The Court will have to deal with any appeal filed within 14 days.
If no appeal is filed against the bureau's decisions, another public hearing will be held on Friday to number the six candidates' lists for placement on the ballot and to allocate the colours to each slate as requested by the parties.
Representatives of US party and SRP have confirmed that they have requested the same colour – blue – for their lists. Both party leaders were at the hearing in blue dress shirts.
One of the parties will be allocated the colour via a raffle by the bureau on Friday as they are both contesting an election for the first time. Had one of the parties contested the September 2010 Early Parliamentary Elections and had been allocated the colour blue, that party would have maintained that colour and the other party would have had to choose another colour from the approved colour list established by a ministerial decree.
Representatives of only three political parties were present at the public hearing – US party leader Richardson and Party president Cecil Nicholas, SRP leader Jacinto Mock and UP board member Earl Wyatt. It was not a requirement for parties to have representatives at the public hearing.
The six parties combined 90 candidates vying for the 15 seats in Parliament.