The only candidate that lost yesterday is Marthe Ogoundele Tessi who maintained her position as last year. Ogoundele Tessi also postulated yesterday for the presidential seat, she received her one vote. The former vice president also lost her seat in the executive council which was given to her by the RRR last year. Occupying that seat in the newly elected executive council is Aline Hanson from the RRR. Re-elected to their position is first vice president Daniel Gibbs, second vice president Claire Guion Fermin Javois, third vice president Pierre Alliotti and fourth vice president Louis Jeffry and Alain Richardson as a member of the executive council, added to executive council is Aline Hanson.
Territorial Councilor Richard Barray would be the one to represent President Gumbs when he is absent.
On the bidding committee the are the four vice presidents as well as Richardson, Hanson and Mussington.
Ogoundele Tessi abstained from voting for the commissions as well as for the executive council members that were proposed.
In an interview with SMN News the former first vice president Ogoundele Tessi said she decided to present as a candidate after analyzing her options and mostly after receiving letters that were not correct. She said she came forward and took the responsibility of her actions from last year. Asked why she abstained from voting for the commissions she said it is clear these matters are also not correct. "As far as I am concerned the court said one thing and here elected officials are doing something else. I do not think it made sense to vote in instances such as these." Asked if she was contacted to be on the executive council, Ogoundele Tessi said that she was contacted and told depending on how she voted in the presidential election then she would be on the executive council, "after hearing this I again believe that is not correct and there is no democracy." She said those that contacted her was not able to guarantee her if she would have been on the EXCO. Ogoundele Tessi said she felt her vote has value and for this reason she took the decision not to vote for anyone. "The senator told me that he cannot remove anyone from their vice presidents position, but if I voted from Gumbs they would have given me the fifth seat in executive council. Fleming said after the election the majority would see what they can do with her. I immediately told Fleming that I prefer to vote for me since having nothing would not benefit me or the community" Ogoundele Tessi said she did not betray anyone as perceived but instead she stood up for herself and her sole interest is to be able to serve the people of St. Martin. The persons who are denying me that right is the majority in the territorial council.
Asked about the anonymous letter she received Ogoundele Tessi admitted she received a letter, she said she felt the contents of the letter is a means of humiliation and insults to her if she did not do whatever they wanted her to do. The former first vice president said she believes everyone is free and they should be able to do that which pleases them and for that reason she did what was in her opinion best for the island and its people. Asked if she planned to continue her political career Ogoundele Tessi said she was elected on the UPP list and she has to be there to work as the voice of the people. "As for me this is the beginning of a new era." Asked how she feels about the education portfolio that she once held and is now neglected Ogoundele Tessi said she hoped that the team that was elected yesterday would live up to their responsibilities and do the work that has to be done. She said the group has to assume its responsibilities and if they don't she would be the one to speak out. "I will be on their backs letting them know that they were elected and they must now carry out their duties."
Leader of the RRR and candidate of yesterday's election Alain Richardson in an invited comment said he decided to postulate because he felt that as opposition they needed to send a loud and resounding voice to the State. He said the RRR party has shown their willingness to work in the best interest of St. Martin. However, within two years there were two sanctions to the presidents, namely Louis Constant Fleming who is now in-illegible and Gumbs whose election was cancelled.
Richardson said during the last two years the opposition has proposed several ideas and projects to the majority. These projects if they were accepted would have permitted the island to move forward, unfortunately the opposition is faced with a wall and a majority who are only concerned with what matters most to them and not the island and its inhabitants.
Richardson said that because of all of this they were forced to break loose and be in line with what the population wants them to do. "The people would have liked to go the polls and re-elect a competent team but since this is not possible legally then we would have to propose another line to the new working majority which would have been the best solution in this setting."
Re-electing Gumbs sends wrong message!
Richardson said that re-electing Gumbs to the seat as president sends the wrong message to the State and to the youths of St. Martin. "What are we telling the youths is simple Louis Constant Fleming was sanctioned and he has been promoted to the senate seat and Gumbs election was cancelled yet 16 members of the council saw it fit to re-elect him." Richardson said the message the council is sending is that despite someone breaks the law, and were sanctioned they are going to be rewarded. "It is of paramount importance for elected officials to know that government has to be an example to their community and society." He said the message sent out during the election is not the right one.
Asked about the seat the RRR gave to Ogoundele Tessi and why it was taken back. Richardson said the seats that were occupied over the last year became available just prior to the election and they contacted Ogoundele Tessi informing her that they wanted someone from their group to take up the seat which she readily agreed to. He said last year they supported Ogoundele Tessi but this time they felt it necessary that they occupy the seat which Ogoundele Tessi agreed to wholeheartedly.
Asked about how he feels with the stand the former first vice president took Richardson said that this is a clear indication that Ogoundele Tessi has broken away from the UPP which was validated yesterday. "right now I believe Ogoundele Tessi would have to clarify with the UPP that they are not willing to work and to support her and vice versa." Asked about the abstinence from the former vice president he said he has no problem with her decision. He said that he felt that the choice to abstain is better than voting for the UPP. Richardson said he is still open and willing to work with Ogoundele Tessi, he said the RRR will continue to monitor the situation including the economic development, regaining of confidence in the COM and available opportunities for the youths and people of St. Martin.
About the election.
It was clear yesterday that the councilors were nervous even senator Louis Constant Fleming who was present during the election. The majority in the council made sure they did everything correctly so that this time around the election would not be cancelled if contested. Three blank pieces of paper was given to each of the councilors so that they could have voted for whomever they wished. After the paper was distributed the little blue envelopes was given out so that the ballots can be placed inside to ensure the secrecy of the votes were not breached.
Presiding over the election was the oldest member of the Territorial Council Richard Barray who acted as the chairman and the youngest councilor Louis Jeffry the secretary, obviously nervous about the process Jeffry almost made a mistake by forgetting to put the ballot in the envelope, but before he could have dropped the ballot in the box his colleagues from the UPP screamed out "don't forget the envelope" while some onlookers screamed out don't make another mistake.
At the end of the process when the votes were counted and Gumbs declared president it was visible they all blew a sigh of relief before continuing on the other three agenda points.