Oranjestad- Commissioner Charles Woodley of the PLP/Merkman coalition says he is deeply dissatisfied with the way Holland behaves when it comes St. Eustatius. In a conversation with the BES-Reporter this morning, Woodley explained why the Executive Council of the island is irked about Holland’s behavior.
“We have sent various letters to Holland pointing out that, according to international treaties, we have the right to a full level of internal self-government”, says Woodley. Woodley says that every time the Executive Council or the coalition sends a letter to Holland in which these treaties are mentioned, there is never a concrete answer from the Hague.
“What we want to know is if The Netherlands is signatory to the treaties we point out to them”, says Woodley. “However, that question is never answered by The Hague”. Woodley says he is fed up with obstruction by Holland when it comes to the way the Executive Council governs the island.
“Every time they find new ways to obstruct things on the island”, says Woodley. According to Woodley, acting governor Julian Woodley lets himself be manipulated by Holland and aided by the so called ‘advisors to the Governor’ The Hague has placed on Statia, such as Jenny Theunissen and Siebren van Dam. Woodley says he also has a big issue with the way the acting Governor obstructs the functioning of the Executive Council.
“Every time the Executive Council decides something, acting island-Governor (Julian) Woodley simply refuses to sign the decision”, says Woodley. Woodley says that the Governor does not have the right to do this. “If the governor is not in agreement with a decision taken by the Executive Council, he has the right to present it to higher authorities for annulment. For instance, when he feels it violates applicable laws. But he cannot just refuse to sign or delay the signing of decisions the Executive Council takes, because he does not agree with it”, says the PLP-commissioner.
Woodley says Holland is behaving like an ‘organized cartel’. “They (Holland) have their mouth full about the fact our politicians are corrupt, but Holland has a questionable behavior when it comes to a lot of things, for instance its role in international drugs trafficking”, says Woodley. Woodley also points out that Holland does not have a good track record when it comes to decolonization. “Look what happened when Indonesia wanted to become independent”, says Woodley.
Woodley says that Sint Eustatius has never claimed to want independence. “We want to be part of the Kingdom, says Woodley. “But the Kingdom is not only formed by Holland. We have the right to claim autonomy on local matters and we are tired of Holland dictating how we should run our island”, says a passionate Woodley.
Woodley also says that Sint Eustatius is not willing to let itself be bullied into submission. “The whole situation the island has been placed in, is a ridiculous one. Thanks to prior supervision we could not spend a dime. We could not pay suppliers of water for months. We could not even buy something as basic as toilet paper for the government organization. Yes, we as Executive Council have decided to pay valid and legitimate invoices of people who provided products and services to the Government. And no, we do not consider this corruption. Corruption is when money of the island ends up in my pocket. And that is not the case”, says Woodley.
Woodley says an agreement with Holland not to communicate with each other through the press is no longer valid, as far as he is concerned. “We try to cooperate but it leads to nothing. We demand to be treated with respect and we have the right to claim local autonomy. We are also tired of having to deal with Dutch Civil servants who want to determine for us how to run our island” says Woodley.
Woodley says he would not be surprised if Holland were trying to shut him up one way or the other. “I would not be surprised if just now I am locked up or if my phone is taken away. They are able to come up with any claim of wrongdoing to shut us up. But we won’t shut up. We have the mandate of the people, and these advisors and Holland do not”, says a determined Woodley.
Woodley says the Executive Council is preparing to ask international attention for the way Holland is behaving when it comes to Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba.