Saba Commissioner Bruce Zagers is urging the people to vote in this Wednesday’s elections for a new Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament. “The Members of the Second Chamber are also our representatives. We have to make our votes count.”
Zagers said on Monday that in the past few weeks he has been approached by many persons in the community who asked him why they should vote and for whom they should vote for in the March 15 Dutch Parliamentary elections. Zagers didn’t give specific voting advice as some politicians on the other islands have done. He merely emphasized the importance of voting.
“There is a saying that all politics are local. Saba is separated from the Netherlands by several thousand miles so it is difficult for us to feel a part of the Dutch electoral system. For the most part we don’t know the candidates, we don’t know or understand the party principles and we are not part of the election campaign which many of us enjoy in the Caribbean,” he said.
Still, there is a very important reason to go out and vote. “Although these elections do not come with the same local appeal as our own island elections, it is still important for us to participate and vote,” said Zagers, who explained that these elections are expected to bring change, new Members of Parliament, a new coalition and new Ministers.
“The outcome of the election will have consequences not only for the Netherlands but for us as well who live in the Caribbean Netherlands. On Saba we have approximately 890 eligible voters and we should come out in large numbers so that our votes count as well,” said the Commissioner.
“We must remember that the Members of Parliament are also our representatives. The Ministers who will be appointed are very involved and influential in what happens for Saba and our people. Because of this it is important that we send a strong message on Election Day that we are here. That we do pay attention and that as citizens we expect proper representation.”
By not going out to vote, Saba would send a negative message. “It would send a message that we don’t care and that we are not interested. This is not a message that we want to send.” Zagers emphasized that the elected representatives could assist with some of the issues that Saba was faced with, such as poverty, the high cost of living, the red tape and the tax burden.
The Commissioner said the people would need to be patient, but remain optimistic. “After the election we must temper our expectations about how soon this new coalition will take action to help alleviate our problems. We need to be hopeful for coalition members who have more compassion for the islands,” he said.
“That is why on Wednesday we need to send a strong message to the politicians in the Netherlands by coming out in large numbers to vote. We should support parties who have shown a willingness to support our islands especially because of how radical political movements seem to be trending worldwide.
“I hope that you will come out in large numbers and make a statement to the politicians in the Netherlands. Send a message that we are here, that we do pay attention and that we do expect fair representation,” Zagers said.
The Daily Herald.