Published On: Mon, Feb 5th, 2018

Dutch Government intervenes on St. Eustatius

The Hague — Today, State Secretary Knops (Kingdom Relations) has submitted a bill to the Second Chamber to be able to intervene administratively on St. Eustatius. The bill stipulates that the island council will be disbanded and the deputies and acting lieutenant governor will be relieved of their duties. A government commissioner will be appointed who will take care of the administration of St. Eustatius. This intervention is a reaction to the report of the ‘committee of wise men’, who reported “gross dereliction of duties” on St. Eustatius. This dereliction of duty comes at the expense of citizens and businesses on the island.

The administrative situation on St. Eustatius has been a concern for some time. Previous measures to improve the situation have not had the desired effect. The then Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations therefore set up a committee of wise men to map out the problems and make recommendations. The committee, consisting of Mr. F.J. Refunjol and Mr. J. Franssen, concluded that the government of St. Eustatius operates outside the legal order.

The current administrative situation is characterized by lawlessness and financial mismanagement, but also by discrimination, intimidation, threats and insults, arbitrariness and the pursuit of personal power at the expense of the residents of St. Eustatius. The committee concludes that there is gross neglect of duties and advises administrative intervention by the Dutch government.

The administrative situation has far-reaching consequences for the daily life of the population of St. Eustatius. Citizens and entrepreneurs experience legal inequality. No administration is in order and the island is neglected in a physical sense.

“Since other measures have not brought the government to repentance, there is only one thing to do: higher supervision, it is the most serious measure, but now that everything else is failing, it is the only option left. People on St. Eustatius deserve better.” says the Secretary of State Knops. He will travel to the island this week to explain the decision to the population.

The committee of wise men is also critical of the role of the Dutch government in the development of the current situation. Partly as a result of the administrative situation on the island and its consequences for the relations between the Netherlands and St. Eustatius, in recent years arrears have arisen in projects to improve roads, water supply, homes, underground pipelines, waste processing and the sea and sea. airport. These backlogs must be paid. Following the advice of the committee, investments will be accelerated wherever possible.

In his advice to the government about the bill, the Council of State confirms the fact that there is gross negligence in St. Eustatius. The Council agrees with the proposed measures. On the advice of the Council, the bill and the explanatory notes on components have been slightly modified and clarified.

The government commissioner will perform all duties and powers of the island government. This will take until the government of St. Eustatius is able to fulfill its duties properly again. Only when this is the case, elections for a new Island Council will be held, so that a new executive council can take office.