photo: John Samson

THE HAGUE – State Secretary Raymond Knops (Kingdom Relations) will take over the management of the special municipality of St. Eustatius. A devastating report reveals how local politicians don’t comply with the legislation. The financial mismanagement also appears to be extensive.

Favoritism, threats, lust for power, discrimination, intimidation and arbitrariness. The list of what a committee has found on the island in recent months is long. No administration is in order and the island has been ‘neglected’ in a physical sense, says the committee, which has examined the board on behalf of former minister Ronald Plasterk.

The Dutch cabinet is therefore now using the most powerful means to intervene on St. Eustatius. Secretary of State Raymond Knops (Kingdom Relations) has proposed to the Dutch House of Representatives on Monday to have all of the directors on the island dropped off. A government commissioner will then control the island until the island is able to do it again.

Citizens on St. Eustatius are fed up
The committee spoke with citizens, entrepreneurs and civil servants. “All interviewees, with the exception of a few, are of the opinion that the current problem can only be solved by intervention by the Netherlands”, says the report.

But the Netherlands can also be blamed for this, says the report. Many promises have not been fulfilled and the facilities on the island have deteriorated due to the stiff relationships between The Hague and the local government.

New elections
In theory, the Dutch takeover may last until the year 2021. When the government commissioner is ready, local elections will follow for a new island council and a new board.

What will be the rules?

The Council of State, which advises the government and parliament on legislation and administration, agrees with the proposed measures of the State Secretary. But the Dutch cabinet must first clarify the rules of the Council of State. For example, when the local drivers could take office again and on the basis of which it will be assessed whether the intervention can be stopped from The Hague.

Monday afternoon (2.00 pm Dutch time) the House of Representatives debates with Secretary of State Knops about the proposed measures.