Oranjestad, Sint Eustatius, August 19th, 2018
I would hereby like to call on the current Dutch puppet regime on Sint Eustatius to give full disclosure about the recent out-of-court settlement between the Sint Eustatius Housing Foundation (SEHF) and Democratic Party member, Island Council Member, businessman, and former Commissioner Koos Sneek’s company Norako N.V.
On February 2nd, 2012, Mr. Sneek assumed office as Commissioner in the Executive Council of Sint Eustatius. Eighteen days later, on February 20th, 2012, Commissioner Sneek, in his capacity of director and owner of Norako N.V. signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) agreement with the SEHF. The LoI covered the sale to the SEHF of a building complex owned by Mr. Sneek and his company in the Golden Rock area. It included a penalty clause of 5% in the case that the SEHF cancelled the letter of intent, unless the reason was the inability of the SEHF to acquire funding or the purchase of the building complex.
Despite having submitted proof to Mr. Sneek of been unable to secure financing, Mr. Sneek still invoked the 5% penalty clause in the contract. He even went as far as taking the SEHF to court to seek payment of the USD. 65.000,00 penalty, which would eventually be paid by the taxpayers of Sint Eustatius.
He also put a lien on the SEHF’s assets, putting great financial pressure on the SEHF, and forcing the Government of Sint Eustatius to come to its financial rescue at times.
The signing of the agreement by Mr. Sneek seems to have been a blatant conflict of interest,
unethical, illegal, and reeks of corruption for a number of reasons.
First of all Mr. Sneek, being the Commissioner of Finance, knew very well at the time of signing of the contract that the SEHF was not in the position to obtain a loan of USD. 1.3 million for purchasing the building from him and his company. Secondly, as Commissioner, Mr. Sneek knew very well that he basically signed an agreement with himself, seeing that the SEHF is owned by the Island Government which he represented.
Recently the Court ruled against another former Commissioner, confirming accusations that she attempted to hire a family member to carry out work for Government during her tenure. The Court considered that said hiring constituted a conflict of interest, and was illegal.
I am therefore asking the Dutch Government to take an official position on the settlement between Mr. Sneek and his company and the SEHF and explain to the people and taxpayers of Sint Eustatius why the actions of Mr. Sneek were not illegal, did not constitute a conflict of interest, were not waste of taxpayers’ money, and possibly meriting a criminal investigation.
Seeing that the SEHF is owned by the Government and therefore the people of Sint Eustatius, I demand that full disclosure of all relevant documents regarding this case should be given to the general public, including the conditions of the settlement.
For the past few years, this case has been in court, and the fact that the Court declined to honor Mr. Sneek’s claims is proof that he had no legitimate case to begin with. Mr. Sneek reportedly sought to reach a settlement for a while, which is further proof that his case was a weak and questionable one.
The Dutch Government should also give full disclosure about who authorized the Director of the SEHF to sign the settlement agreement with Mr. Sneek and his company. During the past three years, the sale of homes in the Golden Rock area have been stalled, due to the fact that the former colonial Representative in Bonaire refused to approve different candidate SEHF Board members dominated by the Government of Sint Eustatius without a valid reason.
Therefore, the Dutch Government needs to explain if SEHF Board members have been installed in the meantime, and if not, how it is possible for the Director to sign the settlement with Mr. Sneek and his company.
Since the legitimately and democratically elected Government of Sint Eustatius took office in March of 2015, both Mr. Sneek’s Democratic Party and the Dutch Government have been criticizing it of nepotism, unethical and illegal actions, and bad governance. These accusations have never been substantiated.
They do, however, clearly seem to fit the actions of Mr. Sneek and the settlement between him and his company and the SEHF. I therefore call on Mr. Franco to publicly give full account to the people and taxpayers of Sint Eustatius about this matter. I also call on the Dutch Parliament and in particular the self-proclaimed corruption fighter Mr. Ronald van Raak to publicly question State Secretary Knops on it as well.
Clyde I. van Putten
Island Council Member and Leader of the Coalition Government of Sint Eustatius