OSPP holds its first congress Sunday “A change must come”

POSTED: 04/3/14 4:27 PM

GREAT BAY – The One St. Maarten People Party (OSPP) held their first ever congress last Sunday, in celebration of their first anniversary and as stipulated in their constitution, with the theme “A Change Must Come”. The event was held at the John Larmonie Center, beginning at 2 pm until 6 pm. The first point on the party’s agenda was some remarks by the founder of the party followed by a report of all activities carried out by the party in 2013. The report was given by the OSPP’s outgoing president Lenny Priest.

“We had over sixty registered members representing the various voting districts of St. Maarten and many persons registered before the congress took place. We had a full house with many persons attending as visitors but not able to vote,” the party said in a press release yesterday. “A complete new board was elected with Mr. Lloyd Beaton as president and the other eight members as board members. During the first meeting of the board the various functions will be distributed amongst the board members. On this same afternoon an election was held for the leader of the party with two members vying for this position, namely Mr. Jermaine Davelaar and Mr. Lenny Priest.

“Mr. Davelaar made a fantastic presentation to the membership asking them for their support but at the end Mr. Lenny Priest was victorious, hereby becoming the first elected leader of the One St. Maarten People Party,” the OSPP said. “Next on the agenda was the election for deputy leader of the OSPP with both Mr. Edwin Maduro and Mr. Denissen Philips working the members to be elected as the second person in command. It was a very tight race but when the votes were counted Mr. Edwin Maduro was elected the deputy leader of the OSPP.”

The OSPP also presented the bylaws to the members for their approval and these were approved unanimously by them, the party said. “As a political party we are very happy that this congress took place signaling the beginning of the 2014 campaign of the OSPP.

“We have made it very clear that we will maintain our position from day one that we will be pursuing a strong social agenda for this election in 2014,” said party leader Priest. “Our people have been left behind and we need to play catch up in order for them to benefit from the development of St. Maarten. We will be creating sustainable jobs and careers with better security for our people. The abuse of the short term contracts will be something of the past as we expect to address this issue immediately.

“The OSPP will establish a general pension plan and health insurance that all workers in the private sector will be part of to avoid many people when reaching the pensionable age not being able to make ends meet financially and afford proper health care,” Priest continued. “Our graduating students from abroad will be encouraged to return to St. Maarten based on incentives and job opportunities that will be awaiting them.”

“The OSPP will focus on the reduction of the cost of living by tackling the high food prices; high electricity and water prices; the high cost of rent; and the high bank interest rates and insurance premiums. We will introduce better border control and more police protection for our people.

“The establishment of an unemployment benefit program is long overdue. Our people must never again have to endure what the workers of Pelican went through and what some of the workers of RBC Bank are going through today. Our laws must be modernized to better serve our people and they must be enforced,” Priest emphasized. “We strongly support the purchase of the Emilio Wilson Estate and it must be developed to benefit the people of St. Maarten. We have seen a proposal for the Emilio Wilson Estate from two local agriculturists and we support it as we believe that it offers the nation the opportunity to create some five hundred (500) plus sustainable jobs and usage of the property that our forefathers will be very proud of.

“High on our agenda also remains the reduction of the salaries of the Members of Parliament and the Ministers by at least 20% until we can bring our financial house in order. During the debate of the 2014 budget our parliamentarians insulted us by not addressing this issue seriously,” Priest said.

“The OSPP as a new political party contesting the 2014 election for the first time will be presenting our candidates over the next couple of weeks to the general public. We will not wait until postulation date to present them. The public must have the opportunity to get to know them and their capabilities before sending them to office. These candidates will be representing the districts that they live in and in some cases where they grew up. A change must come and St. Maarten is ready for that change,” Priest concluded.

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