MARIGOT:--- The first round of the territorial elections is finally over, but the results have shocked many politicians on the French side who believes it’s alright to change the names of their political parties and colors in order to contest elections and mostly to fool voters. That time of day has passed based on the voters turn out on Sunday for the first round of the territorial election and especially the way those that cast their votes voted.
The voters on Saint Martin has seen which of the eight political parties that contested the election stayed focus and on track except for the newcomers such as MOCSAM, New Direction, and Generation Hope. Another clear signal the voters gave politicians on Sunday is that it is not alright for them to “go independent” after being elected on one political slate and then form a political party to contest the election. Betrayal does not seem to sit well with the voters on the French side. Of the eight political parties that contested the election on Sunday the only one that kept his party name but reshuffled candidates is TEAM DANIEL GIBBS 2017. Gibbs only changed the year behind the name of his political party and that certainly helped him. Another big win for Gibbs was the full backing he received from former Mayor Albert Fleming who took to the campaign trail with Gibbs to rally the voters. However, this week both Fleming and Gibbs would have some more work to do in order to get some more voters out of their homes for the second round slated for Sunday, March 26th.
Another clear signal that came from the voters that abstained is that they seem not to know who many of the people that placed their names on political lists are. 208 candidates on 8 political lists did not send the right message to the voters, especially those that have been following the trend over the past couple of years.
The current President while being ill for some time now should have realized that after being in politics for over 40 years under different leaders that it was time for her to leave the political arena in good standing, bear in mind that even though President Hanson did stay the course during the last five years, she is not in good health, just last week the President was hospitalized, yet she was there on Sunday doing her job as the President of the Collectivity of St. Martin and the leader of one of the new lists that were formed for the 2017 election.
While it is a known fact that the voter's registration is not at all perfect and that list surely needs to be cleaned up because the 20275 registered voters are far from being accurate. Persons that are deceased or those that are not on the island are still on the lists which make it impossible for anyone to have the real numbers of registered voters that are actually on St. Martin. This, of course, cannot remain the way it is and it has affected the elections on Sunday.
Comparing the 2012 elections to 2017 it shows that in 2012 55.2% of the voters voted in the first round, some 9,871 votes were cast compared to 2017 where a number of voters increased only 42.4% (8,601) votes were cast. This alone is food for thought for politicians that contested the election and the three political parties that are eligible for the second round.
The second and third runner ups MJP and MVP have some work ahead of them as they got a good whipping at the polls on Sunday, not only they have to move the voters and convinced them enough in less than a week from now but they also have to realize that TEAM GIBBS 2017 is way ahead of them even if they chose to put their years of differences aside and join forces they only have 2,167 combined while TEAM GIBBS has 4,077.
Based on the results and the abstention it is clear that several things worked against the politicians namely:
- Consistency, loyalty and putting the country above self
- Lack of mobilizing and convincing the voters with a strong plan
- Voters are tired of the same old tricks by changing party lines, colors, and names
- Voters registration needs a massive clean-up.