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Objections of DP Statia to proposed Island Governor

30 JANUARY 2017

THE HAGUE/STATIA–The St. Eustatius Democratic Party (DP Statia) in a letter to Kingdom Government Representative for the Caribbean Netherlands Gilbert Isabella on Sunday voiced its objections to the planned appointment of a high-ranking Dutch civil servant as the new interim Island Governor for St. Eustatius.

On Friday, the St. Eustatius Island Council was informed about the intentions of the Dutch Government to appoint a new interim Island Governor via a video-conference. Kingdom Government Representative Isabella provided the members of the Island Council information about the proposed candidate and imminent appointment.

The process prescribes that the Island Council has to be heard about the appointment of a new Island Governor. During Friday’s video-conference, the Island Council unanimously objected to the appointment of a high-ranking Dutch civil servant whose name has not been publicly announced.

In the confidential talk with Isabella, the Island Council members made clear that they doubted the track record of the candidate, whom they said has no clear experience in running a government and has no affiliation to the Dutch Caribbean except for serving as an advisor in Curaçao for a very limited time.

DP Statia on Sunday sent a letter to Isabella, with a copy to Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk, in which the party asked to reconsider the planned appointment. In the letter, DP Statia provided several reasons as to why the person in question should not be appointed.

DP Statia is the only party in the Island Council that supports the appointment of an interim Island Governor to coach the local government in the process to improve the governmental apparatus, to achieve good governance and to execute the Plan of Approach. The party wants the new interim Island Governor to have ample experience in running a (local) government, an excellent track record and a clear affiliation with the islands.

Minister Plasterk confirmed in a letter to the Dutch Parliament on Friday that he will not honour the wishes of the First and Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament to appoint an experienced Dutch administrator, for example a (former) mayor, who has affinity with St. Eustatius and the other islands.

Talks have been held with several (former) mayors, but the Minister found that he has a more suitable candidate who has “extensive, proven experience” in dealing with the islands. He stated that it was “crucial” to appoint a person who has an elaborate working relation with the Caribbean part of the Kingdom and who has first-hand experience with the ministries in The Hague.

Plasterk stated in his letter to the Dutch Parliament it was a “priority” to appoint an interim Island Governor who could “help to restore good governance, bring tranquillity and stability in the functioning of the government organisation and restore the relations with the ministries.”

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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