Published On: Tue, Oct 4th, 2016

It’s Going To Be Four Long Years

cartoon-track-2020

It’s Going To Be Four Long Years

At least, that is what we hope!

We can be optimistic because even losing parties such as the HOPE party are happy with this new NA-UP formation, which – according to HOPE – clearly has gotten the mandate of the people and will guarantee a much more stable government that will last the full four years.

At least, that is what we hope!

“This is an important condition to be able to reach sustainable development.” HOPE states in a press release. “An unstable government brings an unstable economy which has devastating consequences for us all.” So the island of St. Maarten will benefit greatly from a stable government that can last the full term of four years.

At least, that is what we hope!

Political parties now have the opportunity to go back to the drawing board, review and revise their strategies, restructure their party organizations and build up their memberships, supporter bases and their followings.

In this time period of four years, political parties can give their leadership, middle management cadre and support staff training in leadership, management, marketing, sales & acquisition, presentation, speech writing, public speaking and debating. Any political party that wants to win the next election will have to be able to build an army of supporters who will be voters in the next election. This will require much enticing and convincing.

Within the organization, political parties will have to create specialists in the different areas of government, such as Finance, Tourism, Economics, Aviation, Telecommunications, Transportation, Health, Social Affairs, Labor, Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Housing, Spatial Planning, Infrastructure, Environment, Legal Affairs, Dutch Caribbean Affairs, Regional Affairs, Kingdom Affairs, Foreign Affairs and International Relationships.

Political parties must develop spokespersons in the aforementioned areas so that they can be called upon to give commentaries or criticisms where necessary on government policies, whether as members of the coalition or as opposition. This will make it easier for parties, once in government, to select specialists from within their own ranks to fulfill roles either in parliament or in government, whether as ministers, policy advisers, cabinet or faction support staff.

This process of training and building staff within the ranks of the political parties and recruiting new members will be a tedious effort. As we know all too well in St. Maarten, political parties do not operate or function according to any particular ideology. The St. Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) is the only party that can be said to have an ideology – with Christianity – as its guiding principle. All the other parties name themselves according to some movement, grouping or the other, but they don’t really stand for anything in particular. Political parties will have to find an ideology to unite their followers as a guiding principle for the parties’ success in the future.

Another reason why building up an organization and making use of the time given is of the essence for any form of success at the polls in 2020 is the amount of non-voters that forms a significant portion of the electorate. More than a third of the electorate are non-voters. This segment represents at least six seats in parliament. Whichever political parties can manage to effectively identify and target these non-voters and entice them to join their parties as members and give them a say in the organization and a platform to voice their dissatisfaction and aversion to politics, will be a force to reckon with in 2020 if the present NA-UP coalition gets the opportunity to govern for a full term of four years.

At least, that is what we hope!