Gumbs Requests Update on Curtain Trajectory

October 17, 2023 10:52 pm

PHILIPSBURG – Party for Progress Member of Parliament Melissa Gumbs submitted a brief letter to Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs on Tuesday, 17 October 2023, requesting an update on the trajectory status of the proposed changes to the election decree. Gumbs, on behalf of the PFP faction, submitted an official request in September 2022, asking that the Prime Minister consider amending the election decree to remove the dark curtain that hangs behind voters in the booth.

“The request was submitted in the interest of supporting the electoral reform initiatives of the Government,” Gumbs states. “Removal of the curtain will be a step towards protecting and securing our democratic processes even further.”

Earlier this year, PFP submitted a draft LB-HAM (national decree containing general measures) to further support both their request and the Prime Minister’s electoral reform goals. In an August 2023 Central Committee meeting of Parliament, the Prime Minister informed the Parliament of St. Maarten that the Council of Ministers had approved the changes proposed in the draft LB-HAM. From there, the draft would make its way to the Council of Advice, for further vetting before being sent to His Excellency, Governor Baly.

“With there being close to just a month before postulation day, I believe it’s important to receive an update on that post-approval trajectory,” Gumbs says, noting that her letter requested an update on the LB-HAM’s status, as well as whether the Central Voting Bureau had been informed of the pending change. “It’s important that the stakeholder responsible for managing and executing our election day is ready for the shift, although I have no doubt they will be. The idea to request the removal of the curtain came from the sessions held between the Central Voting Bureau and party representatives in the last election. ‘A small change that has big impact,’ was the phrase used to describe such a measure. I’m looking forward to it being executed in time for the January 2024 Parliamentary Election.”