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St. Maarten residents march for early elections

SATURDAY, 18 MAY 2013

~ Action continues Monday at Parliament Building ~

PHILIPSBURG–“Enough is enough, the change starts with us,” a group of residents chanted repeatedly as they marched to Philipsburg on Friday to denounce corruption, promote the rights of citizens to vote and to press for early elections.

The group of about 200 marchers, who were visibly frustrated with the current political situation, is pushing for early elections.

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The action will continue on Monday, at 10:00am, at the Parliament House on Back Street. Rene “Koto” Wilson, one of the coordinators, said that the march will continue every day until early elections are called.

The procession started small when it left the starting point at Le Grand Marché, but grew to about 200 by the time it arrived at the Government Administration Building where some persons had been waiting.

With the St. Maarten flag being held in front of the procession, marchers, some of them holding up placards, chanted as they wound their way along Bush Road, Walter Nisbeth Road and to the Government Building.

Radio personality Mercedes “Electra” Wyatt, was on a loudspeaker guiding marchers with chants. “New elections,” “Know your rights,” and “Democracy Democracy,” were some of the things marchers said.

The placards reflected their sentiments. Some of them bore messages for Members of Parliament (MPs) and Ministers. “No gunslingers, no musical chairs, no two-seat Prime Minister, Laville has to go, time for early elections,” read one of the placards. “If you don’t vote, you lose your right to complain,” read another. “Honourable Romain Laville, are you for the people of St. Maarten?” another asked. A similar one was directed to Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin.

A number of the marchers took the loudspeaker and aired their grievances while outside the Government Administration Building. At one point one of the marchers urged Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams to “come out” of the building and face the people.

“Prime Minister how many more signatures do you need, how many more people do you need to see. We need early elections,” one person said on the loudspeaker. A few ministers entered and exited the building while protestors were outside.

Wilson, who wore a T-Shirt which read “We the electorate control the government” thanked the people who came out as they had shown interest. He said some persons were afraid to march out of fear of being victimized. He said the demonstration will continue until early election is called. “This is just the beginning,” he said.

He said too that the Dutch Prosecutor will have to be called in to finalise the many open investigations against public officials. Several MPs and political figures were outside the government administration building while protestors were there. The coordinators of the march urged the public to come out in numbers for the continuation of the action on Monday, at 10:00am, at Parliament House on Back Street. The public was also urged to continue signing the petition, which will be presented to the President of Parliament Rodolphe Samuel next week.

Source: The Daily Herald

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