Oranjestad- St. Eustatius has a new Government Commissioner in the person of acting Government Commissioner Alida Francis. Claudia Toet has been appointed as the new Deputy Government Commissioner.
The Dutch Council of Ministers has approved the appointment of both candidates this morning, Friday, June 18th, 2021, based on the recommendation of State Secretary Raymond Knops (Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations),
The new Government Commissioner and her deputy will take office with effect from June 22nd, 2021, following the departure of Marnix van Rij earlier this year.
During a special ceremony this morning where both Alida Francis and Claudia Toet were sworn in, State Secretary Raymond Knops said that he was very pleased to swear in the new Government Commissioners. “I am extremely happy that Ms. Francis will take up this honorable position as Government Commissioner. She has a lot of knowledge and was born and raised in Statia. I have no doubt that she is the ideal person to fulfill this position.” About Claudia Toet, Raymond Knops said that Claudia worked on Statia for 1.5 years already and knows how to build bridges. Knops: “Alida and Claudia are a perfect match.”
Alida Francis was born and raised on Statia and has been working in the Caribbean Netherlands for more than thirty years, of which 2 years for the Government of St. Maarten, 18 years in Statia as Director of Tourism and more than 10 years as senior communications advisor for Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland (RCN). She has served as Deputy Government Commissioner of St. Eustatius since February 15th, 2020.
“I eagerly look forward to continuing efforts to strengthen the civil service organization, increasing the pace of the implementation of projects that will boost the local economy and working with the members of the Island Council on the Route Time Table”, said Francis in reaction to her appointment.
According to Francis, the island is undergoing what she called ‘a major transformation’. “As a native Statian I am extremely proud to be a part of this transformation and will work with everyone who is willing to invest effort and time to lay a solid foundation for sustainable growth for our island; a foundation that is solid enough for future generations to build upon.”
Claudia Toet was born and raised in The Hague, the Netherlands. For the past 1.5 years, she has worked for the Government Commissioners of St Eustatius as an advisor and Change Manager, and also for the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations as a dedicated St Eustatius project leader. Previously she was employed by the Municipality of Rotterdam for ten years as a Department Head responsible for (among others) the portfolios vulnerable (high-risk) youth, municipal taxes, supervision and enforcement.
“I am excited that I can use my experience of the past 1.5 years in Statia and as a project leader in the role of Deputy Government Commissioner. The civil service organization has developed, in knowledge and skills, to be able to tackle the number of projects and the criteria associated with the restoration of the democracy”, according to Toet.
Toet also said that there is still a lot to do, and the pressure is high. “I have every confidence that we will work towards better socio-economic conditions in consultation with the Island Council and the stakeholders involved. I look forward to taking the next steps together with the Government Commissioner, the Island Council and the civil servants. Together with Ms. Francis, I will do everything in my power to continue taking steps for Statia. This will be done in dialogue and with an open mind.”
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