Oranjestad- Former Commissioner and Island Council member for the Democratic Party, Koos Sneek, considers the recent take over of local government by The Hague a black page in the history of the island. “Today is a black page in the political history of St. Eustatius. Even in the old days, when the Statia government, without significant support from the National government in Willemstad, had to operate with a so called wenselijkheids budget, which was not sufficient to cover the cost of good governance. But what happens now within our government did not take place. Lawlessness, dictatorial behavior, irresponsible expenditures, the practices to silence the opposition, and so on. At that time this did not happen.”, says Sneek about the Dutch intervention.
Sneek sounds somewhat bitter if he looks at the situation St. Eustatius has found itself in. “Look where we are today. We have more resources than ever before. We have more tools than ever before. We can rely on more expertise and help than ever before. And we have made a mess of it”, says Sneek.
According to Sneek, he is happy that the Committee of Wise Men has also indicated that mistakes have been made at the side of Holland itself. “We all know the report Spies and the Ideeversa report that have not been dealt with. We all know that since 10-10-10 mistakes have been made and important things have not been picked up”, says Sneek.
Sneek however, is of the opinion that the mistakes or disappointment or things which have not happened on the island since 10-10-10 cannot be seen as justification for the way things were handled by local government. “This does not justify lawlessness, dictatorial behavior, nepotism, and corruption. And I am frankly disappointed in all those lawyers who, often for a great deal of money, advise our administration and apparently do not point out that violating the law, and not following the right procedures is not the solution, and yes, even counterproductive”, according to Sneek.
Sneek is also critical about the role of the Kingdom Representative and of the role the Cft has played in recent years. “I have a lot of criticism towards the functioning of the Kingdom Representative and the College of Financial Supervision. The supervision by the Kingdom Representative has been largely insufficient. Proposals for appointments of civil servants are not properly assessed. It is not checked whether procedures are followed and whether the qualifications of the candidate were in accordance with the requirements of the function. This also brought, with the approval of the RV, persons in functions for which they were not suitable”, said Sneek.
The councilman is not much milder when it comes to the role of the committee for financial supervisor. “The CFT has systematically refused to review expenditures on their legality, even if there were strong indications that expenditures were not lawful. The college did not apply the rules of the FinBES as there were many expenditures that could not stand the test. And, of course, our island government felt therefore that they could continue with their practices”, according to Sneek.
Sneek says he is also worried about the upcoming elections. “I am very concerned about the date for the next elections. This should originally be March 20, 2019. Personally, I have a considerable problem with it when those elections are not going through, a possibility that the, this week, adopted law permits”, says Sneek, adding that if elections are cancelled not only the local politicians are being punished, but also the voters. “He or she shall be deprived of the right to use their democratic right to vote”, according the DP councilman.