photo: John Samson

THE HAGUE – The delegation of political leaders from St. Eustatius who had requested a last minute meeting with outgoing Minister Ronald Plasterk was refused this opportunity.

The Netherlands refuses to meet with the delegation because of the disputed appointment of advisor Xavier Blackman for the Caribbean municipality. The appointment is not in approval of Kingdom Representative Gilbert Isabella. According to the ministry, a “one-on-one” conversation was planned between Plasterk and the Commissioner of Constituational Affairs Derrick Simmons. The delegation was not accessible for comment.

The three-party delegation, consisting of a lawyer, government leader and advisor, travelled to The Hague with hopes to discuss the ongoing dispute between the special municipality and the Netherlands. The dispute continues over how St. Eustatius feels its island should be governed. In addition, the local government demands that The Hague gives the island more autonomy, like Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten.

The Statian leaders and local coalition have been discredited. They believe that the appointment of their “expert advisor” is being jeopardized by the Kingdom Representative. Isabella denies this.

“I have maintained the standard procedure on St. Eustatius, as I do on each of the other islands. There is also an expert team who reviews the procedures,” the Kingdom Representative informed. “Such an appointment doesn’t happen overnight. The local government is always given the opportunity to react.”

The fall-out between the Netherlands and St. Eustatius seems to have reached a new low point. The local leaders had discussed with the Netherlands the formation of a committee to work together towards a solution. However the composition of this committee is also a problem.

Last minute
The delegation has been in the Netherlands since last Saturday till yesterday in an attempt to speak with Minister Plasterk and also Parliamentarians in the Second Chamber. They also spoke with Statians living in the Netherlands.