photo: Esther Henry

ORANJESTAD – The Brighter Path Foundation is taking a grass-roots approach of spreading the word about their petition for elections on Statia next year. “We are very satisfied within four weeks, collecting 714 signatures. We’re aiming for a thousand in total”, says Xiomara Balentina of the Brighter Path Foundation.

Xiomara Balentina about the response to the petition

The Hague took over the management of the special municipality of St. Eustatius at the beginning of February. As a result, the Island Council elections of 20 March 2019 will not be held if, before 1 December 2018, it is not stipulated by Royal Decree that the elections will continue. The next opportunity for local elections will then be on 17 March 2021.

Mike Franco (from Curaçao) and Mervyn Stegers (Dutch) were sworn in as Island Governor and Deputy for the Public Entity St. Eustatius for the time being which are.

The petition drive is one of the ‘non-violent protests’ that the foundation takes to get support for the island elections. They also organize interactive town hall meetings, the last one last Saturday. “People had many questions. They need answers and are asking us to help provide clarity”, says Jacintha Brice, also a member of the Brighter Path Foundation.

Jacintha Brice about the petition

Balentina further explains: “Even though not everybody wants to sign the petition, persons still want to talk and they are open to listen and converse. I haven’t encountered anyone who was excessively angry or upset.”

“I am pleasantly surprised by the minds of our young Statian men. What is fascinating is that the young men are so conscious and involved”, says Balentina. According to her, not only locals are signing the petition. “Foreigners on Statia are also signing after some explaining.”