The Hague – Will state secretary Knops (Kingdom Relations) delay the island council election on Statia once more? The local parties do not see any reason to delay the election.
The decision will be made in a few weeks. That’s when the State Secretary will inform Parliament whether or not his own team has made enough progress.
Since the governmental take-over, general improvement on the island has been a requirement for Knops to hold a new island council election. Only then will a new local government be installed.
Former council member Koos Sneek (DP Statia) worries about whether or not there will be elections. He recently sent a scathing letter in which he accuses the State Secretary of painting ‘too rosy’ a picture of the situation for the Parliamentarians.
One of the requirements for holding new elections is an organized civil registry but officials are still cleaning it up. “How difficult is it to do that with a population of 3000? That could have been done during the first few months”, says the leader of DP Statia.
“Moreover”, says Sneek, “During this take-over two elections have been held: for the European Parliament, the Electoral College [Senate, ed.], and a referendum on the privacy law.”
“On our neighboring island Saba the civil registry was also a mess during the island council election in March. Why is it suddenly an insurmountable problem?”
‘Who’s fault is the lack of progress?’
The fact is that Statia had to go to the polls in March to elect a new island council, just like Bonaire and Saba. The Hague has temporarily taken over the government of Statia to improve its finances, infrastructure, and administration.
Progress has been slow according to the inhabitants of the island and criticism towards the Hague is growing. “Who’s fault is it that there isn’t enough progress?”, asks Sneek rhetorically.
“There are plenty of funds available and you see a lot of Dutch staffers walking around. And you can’t blame this on the guys who screwed it up. It’s taking too long now.”
Clyde Van Putten, who calls himself the leader of the government, does not want to give a comment. His party however says that: “The government of Van Putten and Merkman was forcibly removed from office, admittedly without a gun, but it does not mean that the commissioner is legitimate.”
“You may not agree that president Maduro of Venezuela was re-elected, but he was chosen. The Netherlands doesn’t get to have an opinion oh who does or doesn’t get elected on Curaçao and Statia”, says spokesperson Xavier Blackman. “Van Putten is still a council member and is politically active.”
Elections, but with transition period
According to Sneek a ‘transition period’ should be implemented: island council members would be elected, so that they can publicly debate and request information from the Dutch officials. “The governmental tasks should be returned to us step by step.”