Published On: Mon, Jan 8th, 2024

USP want English as formal language in court

PHILIPSBURG — The manifesto of the United St. Maarten party (USP) promises voters a myriad of initiatives. A key issue seems to be the intention to create a legal framework that always gives born St. Maarteners first preference. The party also wants to grant first opportunity to St. Maarten- and Antillean-born candidates to become judges and prosecutors.

In line with the manifestos of all other parties, the USP-manifesto does not contain a financial paragraph so it remains unclear how the party intends to fund its proposals.

The manifesto states that the USP does not intend to continue the practice of not acknowledging children born on St. Maarten of parents with residence papers.

It plans to make pensions non-taxable per July 2024 and introduce a discount card for seniors. Furthermore, the party wants to lower the turnover tax for supermarkets and restaurants from 5 to 3 percent and create tax incentives for companies that employ newly graduates students.

The USP also devotes a chapter to economic diversification. It proposes for instance to promote the establishment of small scale manufacturing industries but indicates that it has no idea about the kind of industries it has in mind by adding, between brackets, the question: like what?

Other ideas are better defined. The USP wants to promote agriculture and seafood farming as well as cannabis farming for medical and recreational purposes. It wants to address employment discrimination based on race, gender, skin color and ethnicity, reduce profit tax and introduce a VAT-system. The party also wants to (finally) establish a gaming board and tax gambling winnings.

The USP wants to determine a maximum for monetary gifts members of parliament can receive.

The party wants to introduce breathalyzers and strengthen the law on noise pollution.

In the field of electoral reform, the party wants to protect seats a party wins in an election. These seats cannot be lost to the party if a member declares independence, though it remain unclear what would happen if such a situation occurs.

Furthermore, the USP wants to have all legislation translated into English and make English the formal language in court within 5 to 6 years. A last point on this wish list is the appointment of a “prosecutor-general” (the party likely means: attorney-general) “who reports to the minister of justice and carries out the best policies for the country.”


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