Published On: Wed, Jan 27th, 2021

Another one bites the dust: UP-candidate Heemskerk cancels his membership

PHILIPSBURG — It is a bit too strong to say that the wheels are coming off the wagon, but the fact remains that within half a year a second candidate for the United People’s party (UP) has canceled his membership. In June 2020 attorney Cor Merx left the party and now Jacques Heemskerk has followed his example.

In a letter to UP’s secretary-general dated January 25, Heemskerk lists twelve grievances as the reasons why he “cannot stand with the current vision, approach and behavior of the UP” any longer.

Heemskerk was the number 16 candidate op the UP list for the 2020 parliamentary elections. As a community social worker he expected to be able to contribute his expertise to the party’s post-election activities. In the course of the year it became clear to Heemskerk that he’d been fooled. Asked by party leader Rolando Brison to add his name to the list of candidates, Heemskerk writes that he “joined under the pretense that the party would put the well-being of citizens first.”

Now he has come to realize that the “actions and the lack of action” by party leader Brison show that the party is doing no such thing.

Among Heemskerk’s twelve grievances a few stand out. He mentions “the lack of direction and professional behavior of party leader Rolando Brison” and the “disregard, disrespect and exclusion of my person and expertise.”

Some of his other grievances correspond with the reasons why attorney Cor Merx (candidate #18) left the party in the summer of 2020. Merx wrote in his resignation letter: ‘There is no team. It is one individual cause, one individual direction, one individual agenda.” Merx also likened his UP-membership to “being on a barge without navigation and without a captain. We are drifting off course and not doing what we promised.”

Merx also criticized the UP-board for referring to the conviction of its former party-leader Theo Heyliger (for bribery) as “a hearsay trial” and noted that the party is on a path “to alienate its members.”

Heemskerk echoes these sentiments. He cites a lack of communication and of regular informative meetings and the fact that there are no minutes made of any meeting as some of his reasons for leaving. According to Heemskerk’s letter the party is also “bashing people within the community.” He notes that there is a lack of inclusion towards the party’s candidates and says that the UP is not sharing any information with them.

Heemskerk also observes that the party has created “a false image of priorities” during the election campaign; in other words: the party leadership had been lying to the electorate about its real agenda.

“The UP is not prioritizing the needs and well-being of ALL citizens,” Heemskerk concludes.


Related articles:
Merx leaves UP: “We are on a barge without navigation”