Published On: Fri, Jan 12th, 2024

Comfortable win for National Alliance

PHILIPSBURG — The National Alliance (NA) sailed to a comfortable win in the parliamentary elections on Thursday by winning 3,468 of the 14,490 votes; good for 23.9 percent. The NA left the United People’s party (UP) far behind; the green party won 2,837 votes (19.6 percent), a difference of 631 votes.

Newcomer Unified Resilient St. Maarten Movement (URSM) led by Luc Mercelina did surprisingly well by claiming third place with 2,020 votes. The Democratic Party (DP) followed with 1,976 votes and the Party for Progress with 1,721. Christophe Emmanuel’s party NOW took sixth place with 1,488 votes. The United St. Maarten party (689 votes) and one-man party ECE (291) did not win enough votes for a seat in the new parliament.

According to a preliminary calculation, the NA will be the largest faction in the new parliament with four seats, followed by the UP (3), while URSM, PFP, DP and NOW will each get two seats.

Ten current members will not return in the new parliament, based on the election result: Sidharth Bijlani, Rolando Brison, Chanel Brownbill, Solange Duncan, William Marlin, George Pantophlet, Raeyhon Peterson, Hyacinth Richardson, Angelique Roumou and Claudius Buncamper.

Changes are still possible as elected members of the new coalition could move into ministerial positions.

For now the new parliament will look as follows: Egbert Doran, Silveria Jacobs, Ondhae Marlin and Ardwell Irion (NA), Omar Ottley, Akeem Arrindell and Francisco Lacroes (UP), Luc Mercelina and Sjamira Roseburg (URSM), Ludmila de Weever and Melissa Gumbs (PFP), Sarah Wescot-Williams and Grisha Heyliger-Marten (DP), Christophe Emmanuel and Kevin Maingrette (NOW).

The voter turnout was 65.08 percent; there were 22,553 registered voters and 14,678 votes cast. Of those, 14.490 votes were valid.

This election saw the total collapse of the United St. Maarten party (USp). It won just 689 votes and that was not enough for a seat. Party leader Pamela Gordon-Carty disappointed with just 91 votes. Others like Gromyko Wilson (193 votes) and Addison Boston (138) did much better but it was not enough to keep the party in parliament.

Claudius Buncamper, who was good for 301 votes during the 2020 elections as a candidate for USp did not make the cut either. As the number 2 candidate of NOW he won just 116 votes.

On the other end of the spectrum Minister Omar Ottley excelled with a score of 775 votes, making him the biggest vote-getter this time. The much anticipated entrance of former port director Mark Mingo on the UP-list ended in a disappointment, as he won not more than 168 votes. The other UP-winners are Akeem Arrindell (355 votes) and the number 23 of the list, Fernando Lacroes (312 votes).

The DP returns to parliament with seats for party leader Sarah Wescot-Williams (502 votes) and former UP-MP Grisha Heyliger-Marten (423 votes).

The PFP keeps its two seats but it loses MP Raeyhon Peterson because he was outvoted by Ludmila de Weever (576 votes) and party leader Melissa Gumbs (462 votes). Peterson won 267 votes.

NOW party leader Christophe Emmanuel won 687 votes in the 2020 elections, but this time he had to be satisfied with 457. Kevin Maingrette’s 249 votes were good for the party’s second seat.

The one candidate who impressed the most is the one-man party led by newcomer to the political arena, Nigel Wigley (ECE), who ranked #15 in the top 15 vote getters in this January 2024 elections. If seats in Parliament were allotted based on the top 15 candidate, Wigley would have earned himself a seat in Parliament. As a one-man party, he did significantly much better than others on the bigger parties.