Opinion Koos Sneek: “Very Unfortunate, but Unavoidable”

This morning early, I have taken notice of the news that the National Government has taken the decision to sideline the government of St. Eustatius and to appoint a special commissioner who will take over the governing of the island. This decision has been taken following the report, conclusions, and recommendations of the committee of wise men.

The measure, although very unfortunate, to me has been unavoidable. As an island council member, I have seen this coming for a while. I am not happy about it and it is nothing to rejoice over.

Unfortunately, our government keeps on ignoring laws and procedures. Democracy is trampled on, whereby the island council has become a rubber stamp. Able and capable civil servants have left, whether voluntarily or by force and have been replaced by friends and political associates. The contacts with the national government are avoided and almost non-existent. Outside help is declined, unless where it concerns highly paid lawyers who are hired to get Statia into the poorly thought out autonomous status this coalition government envisions. Physically the island is in a bad shape. Besides the recent surfacing of a 50 meter stretch of the Bay Road no accomplishments can be recorded by the PLP/Merkman coalition in the three years that they are in office.

The state of affairs this government has put the island in is not just a matter that concerns the Democratic Party as the opposition. This way of running a government has a negative effect on the entire population. It prevents the development of our island and it stands in the way of improvement of the wellbeing of the people of Statia.

The report of the wise men is a litany of mismanagement and unlawful practices by our local government. It however also is very critical about the actions of the national government and how they have dealt with Statia in the Dutch constellation since 10-10-10. I share this criticism.

The report also advices the Dutch government to work hard on the backlogs in areas such as infrastructure, economic development, poverty alleviation and the financial situation of government. This is already supported by the governing program of the newly sitting government. I sincerely hope that the effects will become visible in the very near future.

The committee of wise men expects that it will take at least two years to get the island back on track. I sincerely hope that it will take less time and that we will be able to keep island council elections next year March.

Honestly, I am kind of surprised that the coalition apparently did not expect this measure, or at least taken measures to avoid it. I hope that they will not play the victim, but that they are prepared to do some serious soul searching.

Although that through this measure I, as an island council member, am sidelined too, I will do all in my power to accommodate the improvement of the situation of Statia and to avoid that the measure will take longer than strictly necessary. This measure must lead to a more effective and better functioning government, the enhancement of our island and to the improvement of the circumstances we are living in. Otherwise all will be in vain.

Koos Sneek

Lt. Governor Johnson meets with politicians in The Hague
National Government intervenes on St. Eustatius (Update: report available for download)

2 comments

  1. Koos nice . Please let all of us be honest to live on an island with a lot of potencial. Act also like this, with a sharing knowledge. We will help you to develop eco tourism like the bike-plan, the hiking/bike “knooppunten”, the update the airport with minimal investment. Plans presented in 2015. On Vakantiebeurs in Holland 2 weeks ago there was so much more interest in the destination.
    Be strong, no “ ego’s at the moment. Create a new future all together with the slogan:
    Statia will color your day’s.
    Be wise, be strong.
    Regards Cees Timmers your tourist board rep from Europe.

  2. There is an old adage which speaks about” when your hands are in the lion’s mouth,do not attempt to pull fiercely to free oneself, but apply gentle actions, with the intention that after freeing oneself the Lion is toothless” We know that there is some interest by the Island Council to win some autonomy from the Dutch Government. I admire the brave intention by the coalition government, but for such an event to be successful, ” All citizens need to be on deck” supported by opposition political factions, business sector and other interested stakeholders. Its an exercise which will demand skilled forms of negotiation,considering the pros and cons outlined in the Dutch agreement of 10-10-10.

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