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Appointment new Island Governor Statia on hold

1 FEBRUARY 2017

THE HAGUE–The appointment of a new interim Island Governor for St. Eustatius has been temporarily put on hold following Friday’s unanimous objection of the St. Eustatius Island Council of the proposed candidate, a high-ranking Dutch civil servant.

In a letter to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament, Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk stated on Tuesday that he has asked Kingdom Government Representative for the Caribbean Netherlands Gilbert Isabella to hold off on the appointment of a new interim Island Governor.

The pending appointment will be postponed at least until the visit of Secretary General of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK Richard van Zwol to St. Eustatius. Plasterk did not specify a date for Van Zwol’s visit, but stated that “based on the urgency” of the situation, this visit would take place “on short term.”

In his letter, the Minister referred to the video conference that took place last Friday between Isabella and the Island Council to hear the latter about the planned appointment of a new interim Island Governor.

During that video conference, the Island Council unanimously voiced objections to the proposed candidate, a high-ranking Dutch civil servant, whom the Island Council members said lacked the experience of governing on a local level, did not have sufficient affiliation with the islands and did not have a clean record.

The Progressive Labour Party (PLP) and the Democratic Party (DP Statia) on Sunday wrote separate letters to the Dutch Government in which they confirmed their strong objections to the proposed appointment of the Dutch civil servant in question whose name has not been made public.

Plasterk stated that based on the feedback that he received from Kingdom Government Representative Isabella as well as the letters from the PLP and DP Statia, he has asked his Secretary General to visit St. Eustatius for talks and to hold off on the appointment until after Van Zwol’s visit.

The Minister announced that the Secretary General will offer external expertise to the Public Entity St. Eustatius, the Island Governor and the Executive Council, on a “non-voluntary” basis. He stated that this expertise was in accordance with his wishes and that of the Dutch Parliament to improve the functioning of the local government in the best interest of the island’s residents. Plasterk promised to inform the Parliament after Van Zwol’s visit.

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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