~ Marlin-Romeo VP, De Weever second VP ~
PHILIPSBURG--Democratic Party (DP) leader Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams was elected President of Parliament during a plenary session on Friday.
United St. Martin (US) Party elected MP Leona Marlin-Romeo was elected First Vice-President of Parliament, while DP MP Cornelius de Weever was elected Second Vice-President.
Marlin-Romeo has joined the United People's (UP)/De Weever coalition government, but it could not be ascertained whether she has declared herself an independent MP and severed ties with US Party, with which she had publicly pledged to remain when rumours were circulating shortly after election that she was engaged in talks to lend support to UP.
All three persons were elected by 10 votes in favour. Five votes were blank. The voting was overseen by a committee comprising National Alliance (NA) MP George Pantophlet and UP MP Johan "Janchi" Leonard. During the voting for Wescot-Williams, a total of 16 ballots were counted, although there were just 15 MPs voting. Six of the votes were blank.
US Party MP Frans Richardson requested an explanation of the discrepancy and wanted to know why there had been an extra ballot. Pantophlet said 16 ballots had been in the box – six of which were blank.
The meeting was chaired by UP MP Dr. Lloyd Richardson, who was the eldest MP. The new Parliament will sit for four years – 2014 to 2018.
At the end of the voting Wescot-Williams expressed hope that MPs would work together "for the people of St. Maarten" and pursue matters that need to be pursued for the wellbeing of the country.
Marlin-Romeo said there was ample opportunity to show residents that "we are here to work in their best interest." She said the broad-based government would bring stability to St. Maarten and noted that she would be voting across party lines for issues that would benefit the country.
De Weever said Friday was "a clear demonstration" of the right decisions being made going forward. He expressed hope that the new Parliament would be one that represented all people.
Tamara Leonard said she had high expectations for Parliament.
Jacobs expressed hope that MPs would put the people of St. Maarten first and that decisions made would be in the best interest of the people of the country. She hopes that MPs will represent the people of St. Maarten to the best of their abilities.
Pantophlet said he would hold to their word the MPs who had promised to work across party lines in the interest of the population. He said St. Maarten was at a crossroad politically and the people of the country should be placed first.
The meeting attracted a large number of spectators, family members and supporters of the elected MPs.