The political arena in Saba may look very different after Thursday’s Island Council election. For years the blue Saba Labour Party (SLP) and the orange-coloured Windward Island People’s Movement (WIPM) have battled it out between each other. Now a third party has joined the race, the green United People Movement (UPM) founded by Dave Levenstone.
The one-man party mainly targets the voters who are disappointed in the current opposition party, Monique Wilson’s SLP. Levenstone was late in filing his credentials and, therefore, his party appears in the ballot as a blank list. He is, however, confident that he’ll join the opposition. “We have to move in a different direction and I will help with that,” Levenstone told Caribbean Network news site. Levenstone wants to drastically lower the cost of living on the island.
WIPM candidate Hemmie van Xanten said the current Island Council has achieved a lot during the past four years. According to him, Saba is seen by the Netherlands as the most successful island in the Caribbean Netherlands. “And we want to keep it that way,” he said.
Wilson said her SLP party’s style is not that of “guns and roses and battles of the day. We lobbied appropriately, effectively, and in a respectful manner. That has been our debate field,” she told Caribbean Network. The SLP would like to continue its current strategy, which is to create more opportunities for young individuals and young professionals in Saba.
Saba has a total of 1,105 eligible voters. The turnout is usually around 90 per cent, according to Island Governor Jonathan Johnson. The Island Council of Saba consists of five members. If Levenstone manages to become the big election winner, his UPM party and Saba may have a problem as his party does not have any other candidates to take up seats in the Island Council.
Saba’s eligible voters can vote at two polling stations on Wednesday. They can also cast their votes for the electoral council in the election for the First Chamber of the Dutch Parliament.
Even though the Saba votes will have little impact on the final result, people would still turn out to vote for the Senate, says Island Governor Johnson “Voting on Saba is serious business,” he said. There are 75 seats up for grabs in the First Chamber, of which Saba voters can influence only 0.01 seat.
The Daily Herald.