Published On: Sun, Dec 29th, 2019

“Vote against ship jumpers and those who join them!”

PHILIPSBURG — During the Ad Hoc Committee meeting on Electoral Reform on November 7, 2019, the former SMCP Faction Leader, MP Claude ‘Chacho’ Peterson first proposed that “No coalition should be formed with ship jumpers”.

During his speech former MP Peterson advocated as a short term solution to ship jumping that all parties should sign a covenant stating that they would not form any government with ship jumpers. Former MP Peterson stated that this would take away the incentive for ship jumpers to go independent and form their own one-man faction, to enjoy the benefits achieved by and afforded to a party faction.

Other ways mentioned by the former MP to deter ship jumping is to take away their ability to get their own staff and to revoke their travel on behalf of Parliament. The former MP explained that “Presently, each independent MP is allowed two staff members in their faction office with monthly costs to taxpayers of NAF 13,500. At the present rate the factions of independent MPs could soon outnumber those of parties, which presently stands at four parties and four independent MPs. It will become financially and logistically impractical if “ship-jumping independent one-man factions” continue to form. These additional costs are often not budgeted and office space in the building is not available.”

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Recently, USP leader Frans Richardson called on parties to take a stand and not form a government with any ship jumpers. When asked about this statement, former MP Peterson and now candidate #2 on the SMCP slate had the following to say:

“When I read the article from the USP Leader, the saying that came to my mind is one that I have stated repeatedly: The Integrity of the Messenger is More Important than the Content of the Message. Without Integrity the Message has Zero Value! All the older parties have joined with ship jumpers. However the USP and NA parties have benefited the most from ship jumping since 10-10-10 by luring MPs from other parties to jump ship and become independent to form coalitions with them. SMCP has never tried to lure and convince MPs to jump ship by offering them Ministers, cabinet positions nor any deals. The Party has always maintained the stance of not bringing instability by joining with ship jumpers. I hope the people will see it fit to send me back to Parliament where I will maintain this stance and not join with ship jumpers. I will also seek to initiate the changes to the Rules of Order to take away the incentives to jump ship.”

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SMCP candidate Peterson goes on to say: “Having held positions in the COM and Parliament, MP Wycliffe Smith and I have demonstrated our ability to live up to the universal principles of integrity, accountability, honesty, transparency and moral values which the party was founded on. We have exemplified what it means to be a good coalition partner while upholding our universal principles. We confronted and tackled the issues within the coalition and government with ethics; always putting Country above Self.”

“Again, I would like to thank MP Meyers for being brave and bold enough to acknowledge the stability and team work SMCP brought to the coalition. A statement we have never seen a politician make towards their coalition partner since 10-10-10.”

When asked about the upcoming elections, Peterson stated: “On January 9, 2020, I am asking voters to vote against ship jumpers and those who have repeatedly joined them resulting in 9 governments in 9 years. I am asking the voters to give SMCP overwhelming support. The Party has a list of viable and competent candidates who are ready to SERVE ST. MAARTEN FOR A CHANGE. Give SMCP 3 seats plus and allow us to keep fighting for stability, good governance and to dismantle corruption.”

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