USp-candidate Leona Marlin-Romeo: “I am not going anywhere”POSTED: 09/6/14 2:40 PM
St. Maarten – Leona Marlin-Romeo is firmly committed to the United St. Maarten party. During a press conference at the Parliament building yesterday morning, the party’s number 2-candidate laid to rest rumors triggered by a baseless article that appeared on a notorious local gossip website on Thursday.
The website insinuated that Marlin-Romeo had “jumped ship” and taken money to join the United People’s party to form a government.
Marlin thanked blogger Bibi Shaw for the publicity the story has generated, but the sarcasm was lost on Shaw, who later acknowledged the “compliment.” Marlin-Romeo, however pointed out the obvious: “Before you slander my name and the name of my campaign manager I think you should get your facts straight. Leona Marlin is not going to be intimidated by anyone. If things are not going in the right direction for the people of St. Maarten, I will not go in that direction.”
Marlin-Romeo said that she was not going to fight her battles on social media. “There is a saying: Go ahead and throw me to the wolves. Throw me to the wolves but when I come back I will be the leader of the pack.”
Party leader Frans Richardson had no clear answer to a question from this newspaper whether he thought somebody paid the blogger to publish her story. “I cannot answer that, because I am not working for the secret service,” he said.
Earlier Richardson acknowledged that everybody is entitled to his own opinion. “I believe also that it is better to hear things from the horse’s mouth,” he said. “In every party there are discussions and they will be addressed by the party and its board. The United St. Maarten party is here to govern. We intend to stick together as a team. This new government must work together, hand in hand for our country.”
Richardson said he had organized the press conference for the sake of transparency. “We are here to answer some of your questions about innuendos that are circulating, so that these stories do not start to live a life of their own.”
The USp-leader said that “nothing has changed” since he signed an agreement with the National Alliance and the Democratic Party to form a new government. “There is no room for any maneuvering that will keep us from moving forward. We are here to represent the people, not only those who voted for the US party, but the entire community.”
Leona Marlin emphatically stated that what the 245 people who voted for her “have been hearing about jumping ship and taking money is not true” adding that she finds it “very unfortunate that people try to slander my name in public.” Addressing the baseless story on the gossip website, Marlin said: “That is not going to break me.”
To illustrate her commitment to the community, Marlin-Romeo referred to the 2010 elections, when she was a candidate for the National Alliance but did not win enough votes for a seat in parliament. “I returned to the civil registry where I did not only serve National Alliance people, I served all the people of St. Maarten. I am a member of the United St. Maarten party. That is where the people asked me to be and that is where I shall stay.”
Marlin-Romeo said that it is not possible to control social media. “Let my actions in Parliament determine how I perform. Watch me. I gave my word to the people that I would represent them, and that is exactly what I am going to do.”
That the United People’s party – or at least some of its representatives – is not sitting around idly after the elections appeared from Marlin-Romeo’s answer to the question whether she had been approached by the UP. “I was personally not approached by anyone of any party to run with them,” she said. Have other parties approached my team members? Yes, that has happened. Does that mean that I am going somewhere else? No, I am not going to entertain that.”
Romeo-Marlin remained consistent when she was badgered with questions about possible differences of opinion within her party and in the negotiations with the National Alliance and the Democratic Party. “Every political party will have its ups and downs and its discussions. If I have issues, I discuss them with my party leader. The point is, I did not jump ship. The point is, I am standing next to Frans Richardson. If something is not right in my opinion, I am going to raise my voice. It is about what is good for the country – that will get my support. Again, I am standing next to Frans Richardson and I am not going anywhere.”