Oranjestad- Despite question marks from the Dutch government and last minute interventions to frustrate the signing of an agreement between the Government of Statia and oil terminal NuStar, parties this afternoon inked the agreement outlining a new tariff structure applicable for NuStar.
Just before the signing of the agreement his afternoon took place, RCN -on behalf of the Ministry of Interior Affairs and Kingdom relations (BZK)- had sent out a press release informing the public of their decision to have the Dutch State Attorney review the agreement in question. However, as was stated by commissioner Woodley, “they (the Dutch government, editor) have no legal argument”.
The signing of the agreement on Thursday had to be cancelled due to a last minute intervention of Kingdom Representative, Gilbert Isabella. According to Isabella, the agreement might possibly have implications for various ministries and thus, according to the statement by RCN/BZK, has to be perused and approved by The Hague, prior to the signing with NuStar.
The government of Sint Eustatius has been very much focused on signing the new agreement with Statia’s single biggest employer and investor. “We project a base of 3.8 million dollars per year in income for the government. As ship increase will be a realized, it will actually be more than that” said Woodley in conversation with The BES-Reporter. Commissioner Woodley also mentioned the fact that pilotage and the provision of services will, with the signing of the agreement, also become a task of the Island government meaning more much needed income.
The objections by The Hague were and are not understood by many. While question marks do exist about the way a new marine environment ordinance was presented and implemented, The Hague on the one hand constantly criticizes local government for not achieving more for the island, while on the other hand being seemingly determined to thwart one of the few possibilities the island has to actually generate more revenue and, thus, be less dependent on the same Dutch Government.
It is also noteworthy that NuStar, knowing the dominant position of the Dutch Government in everything regarding St. Eustatius, as well as the objections on the side of The Hague, has decided to proceed with the signing of the new agreement with the island government of Sint Eustatius. This can be considered no less than a statement to Kingdom Government.
In the picture (from left to right front): Commissioner Derrick Simmons, NuStar Vice President of Operations, John Roller and commissioner Charles Woodley. Behind the commissioners stand independent island councilman Reuben Merkman (left) and leader of the Progressive Labor Party (PLP), Mr. Clyde van Putten.