Published On: Sun, Jan 7th, 2018

Parties have no clear platforms

Dear Editor,

In the Dutch/European system of politics that incentivizes large number of political parties, it is common and maybe even inevitable that governments have to be formed by coalitions.

For the coalitions to be effective it is best that each party have a clear platform so that when the coalition is formed then the coalition members can bargain with other parties, on the basis of the number of seats achieved, how much they have to compromise on their platform in order to participate in a coalition.

Without a clear platform, coalitions are likely to be totally driven by the advantages to the party for holding power. Without a clear platform the chances of candidates being unclear on what they are standing for is high and there is no reason not to jump ship if non-political factors might encourage that.

The nominations now made for our February elections once again show that the candidates are not divided by political vision; they are divided into parties on the basis of very different criteria.

For elaboration on what those criteria are I refer you to the current discussion in every bar on Sint Maarten. Every election one hopes for an improvement in the quality of the party platforms. The spread of similar views across many parties and the likely differences within each party suggest that the quality of the platform definition is not likely to improve much on previous elections. It means that the creation of clear party platforms with goals that can be accounted for is unlikely. It means that the well informed voter is more hoping that a set of individuals follow a particular policy and political methodology rather than being able to depend on any particular measurable program being carried out.

For Country Sint Maarten it means the risk of continued instability. We all know that political instability is a major factor in every aspect of life on Sint Maarten and is the central theme of the history of Sint Maarten since 2010.

Robbie Ferron