Development Plan for Statia Harbor Seems to Have Died with Ousting of PLP/Merkman Coalition

Curaçao Ports Authority (CPA), on request of the PLP/Merkman coalition compiled a roadmap for the further development of the Harbor in St. Eustatius. The plan however seems to have died with the ousting of the PLP/Merkman Coalition

Oranjestad, St. Eustatius- A complete roadmap for the development and management of the Harbor in Oranjestad, including potential participation in the ownership structure by Curaçao-based CPA, seems to have met a premature end with the deposing of the local Government supported by the PLP/Merkman coalition.

Documents in possession of The BES-Reporter, dating back to the year 2017, show a complete and well-compiled plan, not only outlining the overall structure of companies functioning in the harbor, but also a roadmap with actions to get the harbor on a higher level and generate more income for local government coffers.

On the anniversary of the take-over of local government by The Hauge, there has been quite some discussion in both mainstream and online media about the results (or lack thereof), when it comes to the development of the island. Those supporting the take-over point to the fact that bigger projects (such as the building of a new airport terminal and the measures against erosion) take a relatively long term to prepare.

Those against the intervention by The Hague cynically point to the fact that roads are still in the same deplorable condition and painted cemetery walls are about the most concrete difference between the ‘old’ and ‘new St. Eustatius’.

Over the past year however, little has been heard about the plans for an investment and improvement of the harbor of the island.

Roadmap and shareholders

The plan drafted by CPA would have resulted in a new holding company, with shareholders CPA and the Public Entity of St. Eustatius. Under the new entity, three other entities were envisioned: the Statia Tug Company, the Statia Pilot Company and the Statia Harbor Master Company.

Under the plan, CPA would have contributed with their expertise, experience and day-to-day management of the new entities, while Local Government would have contributed with lands, assets and workforce.

Preparations for the plan were to start in September 2017, where the harbor would have been operational according to the new setup in the first quarter of 2019.

Since the take-over of local government by The Hague in the form of Government Commissioners Franco and Stegers, little has been heard about the situation in the harbor and the situation has largely remained ‘as is’.

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