PHILIPSBURG–Concern and discontent in several sections of the community about what is deemed systematic targeting of the country’s leaders has spawned an “I stand with St. Maarten” silent demonstration with the aim of handing a petition to Parliament. The demonstration starts on Wednesday at 8:30am in front of the old Government Administration Building.
The now circulating petition, available via https://www.change.org/p/the-stand-for-sxm-petition, calls on Parliament to resume the process to request for a constitutional referendum, to investigate -through the Council of Law and Order (Raad voor de Rechtshandhaving)- the functioning of the Justice system in St. Maarten, among other things the selectivity of cases investigated and/or brought to trial by the Prosecutor’s Office and the number of cases investigated and brought to trial, the profiles of the persons involved, and the status of those cases.
The petition also calls for reviewing and modernizing the Constitution to address, among others, setting a timeframe by which a case must be brought to trial (in the interest of justice and according to universal norms) and maintaining the fundamental principle of natural justice that persons be judged by their peers.
The petitioners are demanding that the government of the Netherlands complies fully with the Charter of the United Nations by acting in accordance with St. Maarten’s right to a full measure of self-government based on absolute equality with the Netherlands, and take concrete action to that effect by initiating dialogue with the Government of the Netherlands before the end of 2018.
Parliament is called on by the petition to convene an urgent public meeting within seven days to debate and decide on the points of the petition.
Organisers call on all concerned St. Maarten residents, including all political parties and their leaders, to stand up and to demonstrate their support for St. Maarten, its leaders and themselves against outside forces working diligently to stagnate and thwart the development of the country.
“This is not about any one person or party. It is about our St. Maarten and our right to choose our own leaders without repercussion,” said demonstration organisers.
Leading the charge are community activists Rhoda Arrindell and Fernando Clarke. They, together with other activists, are promoting the cause leading up to the march via radio. Their first appearance was on Voice of St. Maarten Radio network, today, Friday. They will share the objective and vision of the demonstration with listeners of Laser 101 radio station on Monday at 8:45am and with those of SOS Radio on Tuesday at 9:30am and 9:00pm on Tuesday.
Demonstrators are encouraged to wear red, white and blue – the colour of the country’s flag – to symbolize oneness in St. Maarten. The movement is also encouraging the use of hashtags #enoughissenough and #letourleaderslead to support the movement.
Bron; Daily Herald