Platform holds first meeting with Commissioner Franco

ST. EUSTATIUS–The recently established Cooperative Platform held its first meeting with Government Commissioner Mike Franco on Thursday, April 26.

At the start of the meeting Platform members presented themselves and explained their objectives for the meeting, expressing a desire to “actively” contribute to the improvement and development of government during this “transitional period, through dialogue and the exchange of ideas.”

Present at the meeting were Commissioner Franco, who explained that Acting Government Commissioner Mervyn Stegers was off-island and unable to attend.

The Platform was represented by facilitator Gerald Berkel, Millicent Lijfrock of St. Eustatius Liberal Action Movement (SLAM), Koos Sneek of Democratic Party (DP) and Reginald Zaandam of United People’s Coalition (UPC).

“The Platform’s united presentation at this first meeting with the Island Government reaffirms the commitment of all participants to the united position of the Platform with regard to the core principles as defined in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which are the promotion of cooperation with the goal of strengthening the principles of transparency, accountability and good governance during this transitional period,” the Platform said Wednesday in a statement.

At this meeting the Commissioner and the Platform discussed several subjects and received answers to questions regarding the current government structure and operational procedures in the current situation.

Also discussed was the improvement of transparency through the regular provision of information to the public via local media outlets.

The Cooperative Platform also received information and exchanged ideas on several ongoing projects.

Commissioner Franco expressed his appreciation for the Platform’s initiative and welcomed the opportunity for structural dialogue.

“This opportunity to discuss matters pertaining to the development of the island opens the door to building a positive relationship that could play an important role during this transition phase leading up to the restoration of the traditional governing model as defined in the WolBES” law governing the islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, the Platform stated.

At the end of the meeting each party expressed appreciation to the other for the opportunity and agreed to regular monthly meetings for discussions to continue.

Source: The Daily Herald