The Hague insists: WOLBES and FINBES stand ‘as is’

Minister Plasterk warns the Statia Executive Council that applicable laws cannot simply be ignored by local government. Photo: 578 BNR Radio

Minister of Interior affairs Ronald Plasterk has written a letter to the Executive Council of Sint Eustatius, dated May 12, where he states that the ignoring of applicable laws for the governance of the island can never be unilaterally ‘shoved aside’ by local government.

“I find it important to mention that, as long as you are part of the Kingdom, and want to maintain a relationship with the Netherlands, it is not unilaterally for Sint Eustatius to determine the content of that relation between the island and Holland. More specifically, there are actually two options, namely the preservation of Public Entity status or the status of Autonomous Country within the Kingdom”, according to Plasterk. Plasterk continuous to mention that as an autonomous country in the Kingdom, there will be no budgetary support and the island must therefore, in that case, fully support its own financial income.

Plasterk continuous to state in his letter to the Executive council: “In view of the small scale of Sint Eustatius and the current level of public governance under the Public Entity status, the status of autonomous country within the Kingdom to me does not seem to be realistic”, according to Plasterk.

“First of all, I note that the letters (sent to Plasterk by the Executive Council, editor) confirm the signal to me that apparently, the idea exists that the public entity of Saint Eustatius would not be bound by any Dutch legislation, in particular the Wet Openbare Lichamen BES and Public Finance Act BES (FinBES). I am strengthened in this conviction after hearing that the Island Council adopted a motion supporting this idea”, writes Plasterk in his letter to the Executive Council.

Plasterk refers in his letter to an earlier letter of 23 March 2017 from the two deputies of your governing board, in which the same wording of the WolBES and the FinBES was raised. “I can and cannot of course accept this suggestion. Within the Kingdom there is no room for the conception that laws and regulations are ignored in this way”, writes Minister Plasterk.

As the executive council seems set in their intention to ignoring the two laws presently governing the island, all elements for a further escalation of the increasingly open conflict are present.

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