Sneek critical of Dutch role in problems on St. Eustatius | THE DAILY HERALD

Koos Sneek.

ST. EUSTATIUS–Member of the dissolved Island Council of St. Eustatius, and one of the leaders of the Democratic Party (DP), Koos Sneek has sent a critical letter to State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops. The letter of June 11 was sent to The Hague in answer to the State Secretary’s report to the Second Chamber in connection with progress made pertaining to the measures taken to improve the situation in St. Eustatius after the Dutch Government took over in February.

According to Sneek, it is clear that most residents of Statia realise that the Dutch intervention was due to the “irresponsible way” in which the former coalition handled its tasks, “brushing away” rules and regulations.

However, Sneek said, what the State Secretary did not mention in his letter to the Second Chamber is that The Hague has also played a role in this. Besides that, Sneek also makes a plea for measures to be taken to avoid “wrong policies” in the future.

Sneek does not only aim his arrows at the State Secretary but is also critical of the roles of the Dutch Government Representative, whose tasks, according to Sneek, should be transferred to the Island Governor.

Where Committee for Financial Supervision CFT is concerned, Sneek said the Committee had “willingly and knowingly” declined to control the legitimacy of the former coalition’s financial policy and expenditures.

State Secretary Knops said in his letter to the Second Chamber that the intervention in Statia should be as limited as possible, but as long as needed.

Sneek disagrees and said that the local government should be reinstated as soon as possible, even though the intervention should remain in place until the results have become sustainable.

“In this period, which may last for a number of years, the Government Commissioner (or Governor) should remain in control with a far-reaching mandate. Residents can then exercise their democratic right to vote, there will be a local representation of the people again, which will take away much discontent among certain groups and there will be sufficient safeguards for good governance,” Sneek wrote in his letter.

He mentioned several areas, which in his eyes require improvement, such as the free allowance, government personnel and financial management.

Sneek also pleads with The Hague to “finally” take the issue of the social minimum on the island seriously. He also calls for long-term measures to improve Statia’s economical structure and for improvements in the “physical domain,” such as tackling the erosion, which is ongoing for “at least” 20 years, and improving the island’s road network.

In his critical response to State Secretary Knops, the DP stalwart also points out that the changes after 10-10-10, the introduction of new legislation, the “apparent disinterest” of The Hague, and a “sense of inequality” has divided the island into two camps.

One camp, which includes Sneek and the DP, is “convinced” that the current constitutional status, “although far from ideal,” is the best solution. “They are doing their best to improve the situation on the islands and to improve these for the people,” Sneek wrote.

“The other camp stands up against the Netherlands and the current constitutional status and considers the first group as consisting of followers and jacks-of-all-traps. This attitude is being fed by the rigid attitude of the Netherlands, incomprehension in The Hague, the lack of real improvements and the still ongoing inequality.”

At the end of his letter, the former Island Councilman stated that he wrote this letter because Statia’s politicians have been deprived of the opportunity to influence, consider and discuss policies.

Sneek closed off in stating that there are many others like him who are willing to share information, knowledge and experience to create, as State Secretary Knops put it, “legal certainty, development opportunities and improved well-being of the population of St. Eustatius.”

Source: The Daily Herald