Oranjestad, St. Eustatius- A letter signed by director of Economy, Nature and Infrastructure, Anthony Reid and co-signed by the local Chief of Police Roberto Hodge is causing dismay and unrest under local fishermen.
The letter, dated November 4, 2019 states that all boats and fishing pots’ are to be removed from Lower Town’ before December 15, 2019. According to the letter, the measure is based on General Local Regulations Chapter 6, article 3. The said article would give the power to local government to take measures against the ‘defacing of natural beauty’.
What causes most dismay is the way the matter is being addressed, with an impersonal letter taped up at Fisheries. As far as the BES-Reporter understands, there was no direct communication or discussion with local fishers as to how to solve the matter in a way acceptable to all parties.
The letter also threatens that boats which have not been removed by the owners before December 15, will be removed by the Public Entity, at the owners’ costs.
Storage in Zeelandia?
According to information yet to be confirmed, the idea would be for boat owners to store their boats in the Zeelandia area, which would be quite inconvenient to the fishers, as it would mean a daily hauling of the boats from the bay all the way to Zeelandia.
According to local fishers, the storage in the indicated area would not be free of charge, but no information has been provided as to the exact costs involved.
“What annoys me the most is the way this is being handled. No meeting has taken place with us as the directly involved. If it is a matter of general interest, why not consult stakeholders, rather than sending out such an impersonal and far reaching letter co-signed by the local chief of police?”, according to a source consulted by the BES-reporter.
The BES-Reporter has in the meantime sought additional information from competent government authorities but, has so far not received a response.