Published On: Fri, Dec 27th, 2019

Sint Maarten is fertile ground for ship jumping

Letter - St Maarten News - PeopleDear Editor,

We all agree that ship jumping is a major problem in Sint Maarten .

It seems to me that it is worthwhile to find out why ship jumping does not occur to the same extent in other jurisdictions in which multi party options are available to the voter. One of the obvious reasons is that with a tiny parliament and relatively large number of parties, the effect (and possible benefits to the parliamentary member) are much greater. Statistically the impact of one ship jumper in a parliament of 15 members is much more than one person doing the same thing in a parliament of 400 members.

But the Sint Maarten Ship Jumping is about more than this.

It should be that a member of parliament is a member of a party that has a clear political vision. It should be that this vision matches the vision of his party which is clearly stated and documented. It should therefore be that a politician leaving (ship jumping) his party would feel embarrassment when suddenly taking on the vision and platform of another party. His political colleagues would consider him with suspicion in that he “suddenly” adopted a new vision. It should be that his political career would be over and his rationale questioned.

It should also be that any party who receives an application for membership from a recently “jumping “ parliamentarian would like to know why this parliamentarian has suddenly had a change of vision and would ensure that the applicants new vision matches the party’s vision. It should be that such a membership application would be regarded with suspicion.

It should be that ship jumping be a painful exercise for a politician both in respect of his or her personal reputation and the acceptance into a new one. It is not in Sint Maarten .

As long as party election lists are made up on the basis of who can deliver the most votes regardless of their political vision the social pressures described above will not be effective. We will end up with the sort of lists we are currently faced with where it is abundantly obvious that the political visions of the persons on the list are highly diverse. The lists are made up largely on the basis of what votes can be delivered and not on the political vision.

Fertile ground therefore for ship jumping.

The driving forces for ship jumping have not gone away.

Robbie Ferron

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Editorial: “The H-Factor
The Human Factor in Government