Government

Councilman Sneek peeved about Cancellation of IC meeting

Koos Sneek seen in action during a recent Island Council meeting.

ORANJESTAD- Councilman Koos Sneek is not at all pleased by the recent cancellation of an Island Council meeting to continue discussions about the restoration of full democracy on St. Eustatius. This is expressed by the councilman in a press release sent out to the media on Friday morning.

“On September 22nd an urgent meeting has been requested by myself, and also my colleague councilman Clyde van Putten. The reason for calling this meeting was that we wanted to debate a new route-timetable for the return to democracy on Statia presented to the council members by the government commissioner Alida Francis. Contrary to her promise to merge the proposal by the council presented to state-secretary Knops in May, and the wishes of the 2nd chamber, Ms. Francis presented a proposal that will even prolong the intervention”, according to Sneek.

Sneek explains that he, together with other council members, no longer found it acceptable that the meetings on the return to democracy took place in an unofficial setting and behind closed doors. “Democracy is a matter that concerns all the people of Statia and in my opinion this debate should be held in a formal public setting of the island council”, according to Sneek.

Cancelled

Sneek also writes that the meeting was cancelled by Francis, as chairperson, on September 28th. As reason the absence of the acting registrar was cited, who travelled to The Netherlands for business.

Sneek points to the fact that according to the Restoration Act, which is presently in force, but also according to WolBES and our rules of order this cannot be a valid reason to cancel an island council meeting, while also the chairperson of the island council is only instrumental and therefore cannot even refuse or cancel a meeting.

Sneek says that on September 29th he therefor submitted another request for an urgent island council meeting. “The next day Ms. Francis informed me that she will not honor my request and she refused to call the meeting. According to her an island council meeting, and also the appointment of a 2nd acting registrar, which proposal came from the Council, could also only take place in the presence of the (deputy) registrar”, according to Sneek. Sneek somewhat sarcastically points out that he hopes that the acting registrar will not be overrun by a train during his visit to Holland, because this would -according to the reasoning of Francis mean an IC meeting could never be held again in St. Eustatius.

Power play

According to Sneek, the course of events show that Francis has what he calls ‘great difficulty’ to deal with the democratic process. “Ms. Francis is using delay tactics and is playing a power play and seeking confrontation with the Island Council instead of looking for cooperation and compromises”.

Sneek concludes in saying that he is very disappointed about these developments, which are not contributing to a proper working relation between the government commissioner and the members of the island council. “It appears to be difficult for the Government Commissioner to accept that since October last year there is an elected island council, regardless it’s limited authority, who she is obligated to cooperate with”.

Sneek also fears that the tactics used by Francis will further delay a return to a normal democratic government on Statia. “All this in my opinion is undesirable and could be avoided”, according to Sneek in closing.

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