Members of the Second Chamber’s Standing Committee for Kingdom Relations with Government Commissioner Mike Franco, Acting Government Commissioner Mervyn Stegers and members of the Cooperative Platform St. Eustatius outside The Old Gin House hotel.
ST. EUSTATIUS–During their visit to St. Eustatius the delegation of the Dutch Parliament’s Standing Committee for Kingdom Relations held an informal meeting with the Cooperative Platform St. Eustatius at the Old Gin House. On Friday, July 13, the Platform discussed a variety of topics and informed the Members of the Dutch Parliament’s Second Chamber of her position on the postponement of the 2019 Island Council Election; suspended “checks and balances” and a reaction to the Dutch cabinet’s position of the social minimum.
The Platform pointed out that according to the “Temporary Law Task Neglect St. Eustatius” a decision regarding the election must be made no later than December 1, 2018. To make this decision it is assumed that some criteria should be established based upon which that final decision could be made. To date there has been no announcement of a plan for the structured restoration of government nor criteria that would constitute grounds for the decision to postpone or allow elections in March 2019, the Platform pointed out.
It favours the scenario that Statia voters will be allowed to carry out their right to vote in March 2019. The then elected Island Council and appointed Executive Council should function in a transition period under the supervision of the Government Commissioner, according to the Platform.
The Platform focussed on the lack of checks and balances which resulted from the implementation of the Temporary Law and explained that the elimination of checks and balances resulted in a lack of transparency with regard to the functioning of government. This is an issue which the Platform raises regularly in its monthly meetings with Government Commissioner Mike Frank and which forms part of the Platform’s core objectives.
The Platform also addressed the recently published cabinet position regarding the social minimum on Statia. Although the Dutch Parliament had demanded a study be executed to establish a social minimum for Bonaire, Statia and Saba, the cabinet in its response did not make any recommendation to this effect.
Additionally, the Platform noted that based on the study, commissioned by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations, which the ministry in its official response to Parliament, considered to be “quite conclusive,” State Secretary Raymond Knops presented a list of suggestions “lacking specificity and concrete steps to address the dire needs as identified in the report.”
At the end of the meeting delegation members expressed their appreciation for the open discussions and stated that they would take the information received into consideration.
Some members noted that their visit allowed them to formulate a clearer picture of the situation on Statia since the February intervention.
At the end of the meeting the Platform thanked Commissioner Franco and the delegation for receiving them and presented chairman of the delegation Alexander Pechtold of centre-democrat D66 party with a document in which the three priority points where highlighted in detail.