Oranjestad- From July 13th until July 21st, the so called ‘Committee of Wise men’ will, for the first time, be present on Eustatius. The committee says it intends to conduct interviews with a selection of Island Council members and civil servants of the Public Entity and various interest groups. In the meantime, invitations for these interviews have been sent out.
According to information by the RCN Information Department, on March 3rd of this year the Executive Council and the Island Council of St. Eustatius agreed with the proposal of the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations to appoint a ‘Committee of Wise men’ to carry out research into the functioning of the Public Entity and make recommendations on how to achieve a better functioning Public Entity. This, in connection with the increasing tensions in the relationship between the island government and the Netherlands on the one hand, and the absence of improvements in the functioning of the Public Entity, despite the Plan of Approach that was drawn up for this purpose in 2015, on the other hand.
The Committee says they would also like to hear from all other residents and interest groups of St. Eustatius and encourage them to use the opportunity to share, “in all openness and confidentiality” their experiences and wishes and ideas on the functioning of the public administration on St. Eustatius. The Committee says they will try to speak to any interested person during one of their visits. The Committee says that interested parties can contact the Committee e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The coalition government, formed by the PLP and independent councilman Reuben Merkman, is less than thrilled about the visit of the Committee. The Coalition earlier stated that they would not cooperate with the Committee and would instruct civil servants not to cooperate with the work of the Committee either. The coalition objects to the the fact that both Committee members were unilaterally named by The Hague, while turning suggested names by the island government down. The coalition also pointed out that, according to them, the scope of the Committee had been changed, namely from one looking into the strained relation between The Hague and Oranjestad, to one looking mainly into the functioning of the local government and the Public Entity as a whole.