Oranjestad- Politician and member of the Democratic Party in St. Eustatius, Koos Sneek, has written a letter to State Secretary Raymond Knops in which he raises quite some points of concern. The letter of Sneek can be considered as somewhat surprising as political opponents of Sneek see the DP-representative as one of the architects behind the takeover by the Dutch in the form of a temporary Government Commissioner.
Sneek sent his letter to Knops, in reaction to a letter the State Secretary had sent to the Second Chamber, informing them of the situation on St. Eustatius after the Dutch intervention in which both the local government and the island counsel were sent home.
“I cannot avoid the impression that there is not really a structured plan with a clearly defined and end-result, while at the same time offering sufficient guarantees that the intended improvements are also future-proof”, according to Sneek.
Although, according to Sneek, the intervention by The Hague should be deemed as something that was necessary and unavoidable, the DP-politician also outlines a number of issues which, according to him, are not sufficiently addressed. “What is not expressed in your letter is the role that The Hague played in the whole issue and, in particular, what measures will be taken to prevent similar wrongdoing in the future”, writes Sneek.
According to Sneek, there needs to be clarity on a whole lot of issues, such as the way local government can be restored, clarity bout the (future) role of the Kingdom Representative, clarity about the free allowance the public entity receives, investments which need to be made in the quality of the government apparatus, the definition of the subsistence level, the lack of social housing on the island, the level of taxation which is considered not only high, but much higher than what was previously envisioned, the psychical state of the island, including the problem of erosion and the political division on the island.
“I am aware that this is a fairly critical response to the letter from the State Secretary. All the more because my party tried to draw attention at a much earlier stage and several times to the downward spiral in which St. Eustatius found itself and the need to intervene. That call for attention has been completely ignored for a long time”, according to Sneek.
Sneek continues his letter by stating that he uses his letter to express his opinion as the local politicians on the island, right or wrong, have been deprived of the platform (the island council, editor) to express feelings and opinions.
“With me there are many other people on St. Eustatius who possess a wealth of information, knowledge and (managerial) experience, who are willing to think along and make a positive contribution to helping to help solving the problems on the island, like you have stated, lead to permanent results, development opportunities and improved well-being of the population of St. Eustatius”, Sneek concludes his letter to Knops.