Statia politicians reminded of necessary broad support

THE HAGUE–The documents that the St. Eustatius representatives want to discuss during their visit to The Hague in the week of May 8 lack the necessary broad support, Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk recently informed the Executive Council.

  The Minister pointed out that the documents, including the so-called “White Paper” to seek more autonomy for St. Eustatius, the economic development plan and the feasibility study, to his knowledge had not been approved by the full Executive Council or the Island Council.

  According to the Minister, documents that describe a vision on an autonomous St. Eustatius, in his opinion, required a broad bearing surface because it affected the entire population of the island and went beyond an opinion that was based on party politics.

  Plasterk further pointed out that the agreed upon committee of experts also had a role to play. This committee will assess the functioning of the Public Entity St. Eustatius within three months and present recommendations on how to achieve a government functioning of sufficient quality.

  The wish of the Statia delegation to discuss the aforementioned documents during the visit to The Hague cannot be seen separate from the work that this committee will be doing, stated the Minister. As such, he recommended to postpone the visit to a later time this year, after the expert committee has presented its findings.

  The planned visit requires decision-taking by the full Executive Council and the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK where it concerns the financial aspect. Also, the Statia Government cannot reimburse the travel and hotel expenses of third persons, such as advisors, who are part of the delegation visiting the Netherlands.

  The Minister in his letter also addressed the support of Dutch civil servants to the function of the Acting Island Governor. He emphasized that these civil servants did not take over the role of the Kingdom Government Representative (“Rijksvertegenwoordiger”), and that they merely worked together with him, if this proved to be necessary. In principle, these persons support the function of the Acting Island Governor.

  Plasterk reminded the Executive Council that he has offered the option to make use of the (legal) assistance of these Dutch civil servants, if their capacity was deemed necessary and prudent. The Statia Government is faced with a capacity shortage, so in this sense, the additional assistance could be valuable.

  The Minister made clear that he carried the personnel responsibility of the functioning of the supporting team of Dutch civil servants, and not the Statia Government. He stated that it was his responsibility to deploy his personnel wherever it was deemed necessary.

  As such, the support provided to the Acting Island Government would remain in place as long as the Minister considered this useful and necessary. He remarked that his ministry fed the bill of the Dutch supporting team.

Source: The Daily Herald