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Zaandam, McKenzie-Tatem to sit in Statia Island Council

ST. EUSTATIUS--United People’s Coalition (UPC) leader Reginald Zaandam will sit in St. Eustatius’ new Island Council following Wednesday’s election. He will hold his party’s only seat. The other four seats in the council are shared equally by Progressive Labour Party (PLP) led by Clyde van Putten and Democratic Party (DP) St. Eustatius led by Adelka Spanner.

While Rueben Merkman received 104 personal votes, the highest on the UPC slate, Statia’s election rules award the seats to the candidate highest on the party’s slate. This system is different from St. Maarten’s system whereby the candidates with the highest personal votes are awarded seats in Parliament.

In the case of UPC, Zaandam, who received 67 votes, was the list starter so he was awarded the seat. Merkman held the number two spot.

Based on the same election regulations, Astrid McKenzie-Tatem of PLP will hold the second seat won by her party. She will join party leader Van Putten, who was the overall highest vote-getter of the election with 251 votes, in the council. McKenzie-Tatem received 58 votes.

It was stated in Thursday’s edition of The Daily Herald that Charles Woodley as the second highest vote-getter on the PLP slate was the second councilman for this party, because he had received 64 votes. However, he was number four on the party slate while McKenzie-Tatem, with fewer personal votes, held the number two spot on PLP’s slate.

Van Putten, McKenzie-Tatem, Spanner, and Zaandam will be joined by Koos Sneek (135 votes) of DP in the Island Council.

Talks to form a coalition are ongoing in St. Eustatius, as none of the parties won three seats, the number needed to govern without a coalition.

Whether DP, which is currently in the opposition benches of the Island Council, will stay there hinges on whether it can form a coalition with PLP or UPC.

Six parties took part in the election. Three won seats while the other three won none.

“Blanko List,” as the nameless party of former Commissioner Glenn Schmidt is called, received 182 votes, falling short of the minimum 237 votes needed for a seat.

St. Eustatius Empowerment Party (STEP) of incumbent Island Councilman Franklin Brown received 133 votes, also short of the seat quota. Therefore, he will not be returning to the Island Council.

Statia Liberal Action Movement (SLAM), an election newcomer, received 66 votes, the fewest of any party in the election. The party is headed by incumbent Island Council member Millicent Lijfrock-Marsdin.

Individual votes for the other candidates on the DP slate are Ernie Simmons (64 votes), Marietza Patrick (38), Christina Woodley-Charles (36), Raquel Spanner-Carty (30), Shanna Mercera-Gibbs (20), Marlon Murray (nine) and Ralph Berkel (seven). Collectively, the DP slate received 473 votes.

Individual votes for the other PLP candidates were Richeline Leerdam (50), Laurens Duiveman (18), Arlene Spanner-Schmidt (20), Shawn Richardson (seven), Brenda van Putten (four) and Renaldo Redan (nine). Coincidentally, Richardson’s and Redan’s individual votes matched with their positions on their party’s slate. In total, PLP received 481 votes.

Also on the UPC slate were Elvin Henriquez (26 votes), Derrick Simmons Jr. (14), Perla Duinkerk (nine), Miquel de Jesus (six) and René Courtar (18). UPC’s total was 244.

STEP leader Franklin Brown received 82 votes. On the rest of the slate were Hadaki Mitchell (40), Jacques Anson (5) and Iligia Jones (7). STEP received a total of 134 votes.

SLAM leader incumbent independent Councilwoman Millicent Lijfrock-Marsdin received 30 votes. She was not re-elected to the council. The party’s number two and only other candidate, incumbent commissioner Carlyle Tearr, received 36 votes. Together, they received 66 votes.

“Blanko List” leader Schmidt received 126 votes, Gershon Lopes 11, Wilhelm Spanner 25 and Edzel Schmidt 20.

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