SDM leader Benjamin Ortega.

PHILIPSBURG--St. Maarten Democratic Movement (SDM) leader Benjamin Ortega is “disgusted” and frustrated with the continued fooling of the electorate by politicians and he along with his party will not be contesting the upcoming snap parliamentary election in January.

“One of the reasons [for not contesting – Ed.] is the fact that the new trend of election is not conducive for a proper electoral process,” Ortega told The Daily Herald.

“We continue to allow parties to fool the people of St. Maarten during campaign time that electoral reform is number one on the agendas along with stability in the country. Once they have been elected the last thing on their agenda is having electoral reform. One would think that we would have been able to show political maturity after the disaster of [Hurricane] Irma, yet we have only shown our true colours that divide us in parliament using political rhetoric to gain power.”

Ortega said he is “truly disgusted” at times to learn, as many St. Maarteners do, what happens behind the scenes and within politics.

“When will the people of St. Maarten come first without no hesitation? When will we be able to throw the first rock and no fear about living in glass house, transparent and free from blame? When will the suffering of many of our mothers and fathers that have contributed to many of the well-established and often political leaders also get a break in life? When, when, when? When it will be that we truly state enough is enough?” Ortega said.

“I vowed to fight for my people, and that I will do. But SDM cannot partake again in an election such as this one that is filled with greed and political manoeuvring to gain power. When we said the ‘status quo must go,’ … we meant moreover the continuous promises, hardship and separation that we encounter on a daily basis on this beautiful place we call sweet St Maarten land. We all have our own battles and choose to fight however we see fit.”

He urged the population to not be afraid of political victimisation and to “stand up and show that you love St. Maarten by telling all of our leaders to finally start leading us instead of trying to fool us once again. The status quo will go.”

Ortega thanked everyone who support and have supported SDM in the past elections, and urged them to continue to follow their own development and hold those accountable who are in the driver’s seat.