No ex-mayor as new Statia Island Governor

THE HAGUE–Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk remains steadfast in his plan to have a Dutch civil servant appointed as interim Island Governor for St. Eustatius, and not an experienced (former) mayor as the Dutch Parliament wishes.

The Minister repeated his intentions in a letter to the Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations on Friday, one day after this Committee had asked Plasterk to provide clarity on the matter of the appointing of a new interim Island Governor for St. Eustatius.

Both the First and the Second Chamber have indicated that they would rather see the appointment of an experienced Dutch administrator, for example a (former) mayor who has affinity with St. Eustatius and the other islands. These sentiments were also echoed during a debate with the Minister in the Second Chamber on December 15, 2016.

Plasterk explained that the Kingdom Government Representative for the Caribbean Netherlands Gilbert Isabella, with his support, had talks with several (former) mayors. However, without doubting the qualities of these experienced candidates, there was also a more suitable candidate, in the Minister’s opinion.

This candidate, whose name is not mentioned in the letter, has “extensive, proven experience”in dealing with the islands. “It is crucial that a person is appointed who has an extensive working relation with the Caribbean part of the Kingdom, who considering the role that the Island Governor has to play has first-hand experience with the ministries, and who has a hands-on approach to lead a government organisation and can pull an improvement programme,” stated Plasterk.

The Minister noted that according to the process, the Kingdom Representative Isabella first has to hear the St. Eustatius Island Council prior to the appointment. “I expect that with my support, the Kingdom Representative will shortly move to appoint a new interim Island Governor,” he stated. After the process has been completed, the Dutch Parliament will be further informed.

“With the appointment by the Kingdom Representative, I express the hope that the relations with the St. Eustatius Government can normalise and that the efforts can be aimed at the necessary strengthening of the government administration, and that this will lead to positive results that benefit the Statia people as well,” stated the Minister.

In his letter, Plasterk repeated his concerns about quality of the Statia government administration. In that sense, he totally agreed with the Dutch Parliament. “I share your concerns that the situation in St. Eustatius is severe. I share the sense of urgency.”

The Minister stated that based on reports of the Kingdom Representative, it was a “priority” to appoint a new interim Island Governor who can “help to restore good governance, who can bring tranquillity and stability in the functioning of the government organisation and restore the relations with the ministries.”

Source: The Daily Herald