Democratic Party Pleads for Return to Democracy on St. Eustatius

Flags in front of Government Building

Oranjestad, St. Eustatius- The Democratic Party in St. Eustatius has written a letter to staatssecretaris of Kingrond Relations, pleading for a speedy return to a full democratic system on the island.

The letter, dated on August 1, 2019 and signed by DP Party leader Adelka Spanner and Koos Sneek as former island council member mentions various reasons for their plea.

After congratulating Knops on what the letter calls ‘admiration for the way Knops is fulfilling his responsability as State Secretary for Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations’ Spanner and Sneek write: “The main reason for this letter, however, is to convince you -if this is still necessary- ……. that it is the it is important to restore local democracy as soon as possible and to have elections for the island council taking place”.

According to the two DP-members, the present Interim Government lacks communication and transparency from the current administration towards the citizen. Spanner and Sneek point to the fact that town hall meetings have not been held since last year.

Social Advisory Council not functioning

Spanner and Sneek are also quite negative when it comes to the Social Advisory Council which was put in place to provide the Government Commissioners with feedback.

“The Social Advisory Council hardly functions and if it does function, the population is not informed. As far as we can ascertain, there are no set agendas for this council, the meetings are not public and no minutes are kept, or at least these are not disclosed. The population is not familiar with the subjects that are dealt with in the council and how the Government Commissioner is advised. The latter also chairs the meetings, which complicates its advisory function. The return of the Island Council in a transition phase with the public debate will increase transparency in which the citizen will also feel more involved in the developments”, according to Spanner and Sneek.

Spanner and Sneek also write to Knops that they hope the State Secretary will see their criticism and the identification of some shortcomings as ‘constructive’ and that he will include them in his decision whether or not island council elections will soon take place.

“The return to a functioning democratic system with an Island Council and Executive Council, preferably for a certain period of time in a transitional situation with sufficient supervision and supervision, will certainly improve transparency. In addition, the transition phase will offer a certain form of guarantee for the future, in which repetition of the situation that led to the intervention on February 7, 2018 will not repeat itself” states the letter signed by Spanner and Sneek in ending.

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