Plasterk: ‘People of Statia decide about independence’

THE HAGUE–The will of the people is decisive where it concerns the question whether St. Eustatius should become independent or not, caretaker Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk said in response to questions posed by Chairperson of the Dutch Parliament’s Second Chamber Khadija Arib.

  In her letter of Wednesday, June 7, the Second Chamber’s Chairperson asked Minister Plasterk, who eventually has the decisive voice in answering the question, whether Statia should obtain an independent status within the Kingdom: the Island Government or the population of Statia.

  In his response, Minister Plasterk stated that the right to self-determination is a right of the people according to Article One of the International Treaty on Civil Rights and Political Rights.

  The first step towards independence must, therefore, be set in expressing the will of the people. “A referendum is a suitable means for this purpose, even though it is not the only way to reach this goal. In any case, it is up to the people to express themselves about the independent status,” Plasterk said in the letter.

  A referendum about Statia’s constitutional future was held on December 17, 2014. As the Minister also stated in his letter to the Executive Council of May 12, the voter turnout in the referendum of 45.2 per cent of eligible voters did not meet the 60 per cent threshold as established by the Island Council, which rendered the referendum invalid.

  The Island Government and a majority in the Island Council want more autonomy for Statia and seek an independent status within the Dutch Kingdom.

Source: The Daily Herald