Whilst we can all hope that constitutional changes that limit the breakdowns in coalitions be enacted, this will not solve the fundamentals that cause the problem in the first place.
The fundamental problem is that political parties in Sint Maarten are not bound by common vision and political views as much as they might be. If each party and all of its members were fully united on clearly-stated political views and political positions, it would be out of the question that such a huge percentage of elected parliamentarians would switch their position so often.
The greater the unity of vision and the more clearly members of a party are committed to specific political standpoints, the greater likelihood of each member being committed to the party and it would never cross his or her mind to change affiliation . With the recent crossing of the floor by three parliamentarians, it surely cannot be true that they have coincidently each suddenly changed their position on the counterpart policy, the solid waste solutions, the Tourism Authority and the solutions to the budget deficit and our future economic policy. Everything points to those positions not having been strongly held.
Whilst our political parties look unified during election time in a cosmetic manner with outstanding consistency of coloured clothing and flags, when it comes to consistency in policy, the parties tend to fall apart in a manner that provides unlimited fodder for calypsonians. (We’re in for a bumper year in that respect)
The good news is that this applies to all our political parties in Sint Maarten, so identifying this shortcoming cannot be seen as “party political“. The bad news is there are few solutions in sight and improvement is a long road.
Change will come slowly, but it must come by political parties having clearer platforms for election. Being ready is not enough; the party needs to define what it is ready for. Party platforms that simply say that they will do better and that they will solve the problem is insufficient; they need to specify how they will do better and where the funds will come from to produce the change they envisage.
If changing one’s affiliation in parliament does not come with the electorate noting an about face and the consequent embarrassment for parliamentarians, then the practice is here to stay within the limits that any Constitution will allow.