The Daily Herald writes that Friday, the Saba Labour Party (SLP) announced its programme and list of candidates to the public at Topo Gigio’s bar and restaurant in the Bottom. The event started with the introduction of the board members, Joseph Louimaire, Kenneth Hassell, Pamela Meijvogel, Damaris Barnes, Eddie Peterson, Al Levenstone and Chris Meijvogel.
The SLP candidates introduced themselves individually to the attendants. The candidates are Ishmael Levenstone, Enrico “Cuchi” Klaber, Stanley Peterson, Augustino Cirilio Martin, Monique Wilson, Shemiqua Blackman, Janet Wilson, Ulric “Steve” Hassell and Thaddeus Nicholson. Each candidate gave a small speech after which they mingled with the crowd and talked individually with the people. The release party started at 7:00pm and officially ended at 9:00pm, but the great number of attendants stayed until late in the evening.
The Daily Herald spoke with Stanley Peterson. It’s his first time running for election and he was very pleased with the turnout. “I honestly didn’t expect so many people to turn up”
Peterson said. “This shows that many people are interested in change, change that the current governing party is reluctant to give to the people of Saba”.
The SLP has stated in its programme that a regular statement used by the present government is, “That’s a Kingdom law; we cannot do anything about it.” The SLP thinks differently about this. “We want to promote transparency within the government, because there is very little transparency at the moment” Peterson remarked. “It’s needless to say that change is inevitable, we should embrace change, but many of the changes that occurred on Saba in the past 4 years have not been publicly addressed to the Saban community.”
One issue which Peterson mentioned is the fact that the Dutch government is no longer accepting handwritten agreements of property ownership. Peterson feels that an open dialogue with the Dutch government is the best way to go forward.
Many issues were addressed on Friday, issues like taxes, safety, education, tourism and the development of Saba. Peterson has great plans for tourism as he, amongst others, hopes to realize a five-star resort on location between St. Johns and Windwardside. “The Plantation Resort should accommodate a higher class of tourists on the island” Peterson said. Activities like zip lining, sports fishing and golf should be realised on Saba, so it can become a more complete holiday destination, he said.
Inevitably the SLP has many complaints on the 10-10-10 merger with the Netherlands. The problems addressed come down to the fact that Sabans should not accept to be treated as second-class citizens within the Dutch Kingdom. Peterson’s personal goals for the next four years as a politician will be focused on job creation for the younger generations. Many young Sabans, who study abroad, have no interest in coming back to Saba, simply because there are no jobs waiting for them. “I want to make more jobs available to these young and bright Sabans, so they can bring their newly acquired knowledge back home.” Peterson said.
Peterson concluded by saying, “Every man and woman should be able to address issues and concerns to politicians. We need an open-door policy on Saba and this is what the SLP stands for.”