THE BOTTOM – On the island of Saba, no less than four parties have registered for the island council elections, which will take place on March 15.
These are the current governing party the WIPM, the United People Movement (blank list), the Saba Caring People Party and the Party for Progress, Equality and Prosperity (PEP). Notably absent is the Saba Labor Party (SLP), which did participate in previous elections.
In the elections four years ago, the WIPM won all five available seats in the island council. This brought about the situation in which the island had no opposition whatsoever in the island council. In the course of 2022, council member Hemmie van Xanten declared itself independent, leaving the WIPM with only four seats.
On Saba, which is normally extremely united, more critical voices have recently been heard about the way in which the island is governed. However, it remains to be seen to what extent the new parties will actually win a seat. The only party outside the WIPM to participate in the elections in 2019 and now again, Dave Levenstone’s United People Movement (UPM), did not manage to secure a seat four years ago.
Two of the four parties, the Caring People Party and the UPM are relatively small, with one and two candidates respectively. The PEP and the WIPM are significantly larger with 6 and 7 candidates respectively. Independent councilor Hemmie van Xanten will participate in the upcoming elections with the new PEP party, which is led by Saska Mattheews.
On Saba, 1,101 are eligible to vote for the island council elections this year, while the Electoral College (which votes for members of the Senate) has a total of 917 voters. The number of eligible voters is also a new record for the island.