The changing of political affiliations by parliamentarians and the instability of the government and the consequences to the society is a matter getting much attention and so it should. Let me throw out some ideas about this phenomenon as it exists in our young parliament and country.
Clearly the members of the political parties are not bound together by strong political visions. In most democracies where politicians change affiliation it occurs seldom and usually after numerous substantial differences that are exposed as the issues are debated and argued. Here in St. Maarten there are switches that occur even before a single debate has been had (de Weever) or without there being a clear apparent (at least not to the electorate) difference being defined.
Keeping a party together and a common vision is a major task. It would appear that every significant current party has failed at this so there is no party untouched. It would be interesting to know how much effort parties are making at keeping their members on board and engaged in the defined vision of that party. Should we assume that since there is nothing reported about such activities there are no such activities?
As the parliamentarians take specific positions on matters that are contested by other parties, the prospect of changing affiliations would normally mean that positions have to be embarrassingly changed. If very few clear positions have been taken then it is easy to change and there is no embarrassment. Might the lack of clear positioning by certain parliamentarians be the explanation for their comfortable and un-embarrassing changing of affiliation?
Finally, are the switches in St. Maarten driven by the goal of achieving a political vision or are they driven by personal opportunity? If anybody assumes that it is the latter, then they also have to draw the conclusion that teamwork and party loyalty is not rewarded by the political classes or the electorate. In our society there is evidence of some very strong loyalties, so the society is not unfamiliar with loyalty as such. But why does it not apply to political parties in recent years?