Kralendijk- The change of Government Commissioners Mike Franco and Mervin Stegers for Marnix Van Rij and acting Government Commissioner Alida Francis took many by surprise. The change was hailed by some and criticized by others.
The new Government Commissioners were confronted with the Covid Crisis relatively soon after taking office. In general, positive sounds are heard when it comes to the way the crisis was managed by Van Rij and Francis. But what are in general the feelings among Statians when it comes to the new commissioners?
A survey executed by Linkels & Partners at the beginning of May shows that most participants in the Survey are still hesitant and somewhat cautious when it comes to the new commissioners.
Franco was window dressing and had an attitude, Stegers tried but said a lot of strange things. Van Rij seems made of wood and lacks emotion. Even when he is thanking someone he has to read it off the paper. I am reserving judgement on Francis for now -participant in the Survey
Comparison with Franco and Stegers
Respondents were asked if they thought that the island was better off with Van Rij and Fancis, than it was with Franco and Stegers. A slight majority disagrees with this statement. 53.1% of participants feel the island is actually worse off with Van Rij and Francis, than was the case with Franco and Stegers.
Some comments of those who disagree with the statement
- “Franco and more specifically Stegers also accomplished a lot. They were more accessible by the community. It is now more official”
- “They cut from the same cloth, you know what I mean?”
- “They are not governors, and both unfit for the job as henchmen for The Hague”
- “Their term is much too short to make a clear choice. They are not doing bad as they were confronted with the Covid 19, however their daily runnings have not been given time to prove their knowledge and skills and character”
Some comments of those who agree with the statement:
- “I dont know Mr. Van Rij but Miss Francis has done a lot for the island over the years and I believe she has our best interest at heart”
- “Van Rij seems more capable of dealing with the Netherlands bureaucracy than was Franco”
- “I think they are doing a great job considering everything that has been thrown at them”
A question was also asked about the level of perceived competence for each of the two Government Commissioners. From the comparison it appears that Alida Francis is overall seen as more competent for her task, than is the case for Van Rij. 60.4% of respondents consider Francis either competent or very competent, while only 33% consider Van Rij as either competent or very competent for his job.
Many respondents in their motivation remarked that they had not seen enough of Van Rij to really have an opinion about his performance as a Commissioner. In the case of Van Rij 44.6% considered themselves neutral on the question, versus only 26.4% when it comes to Alida Francis. The same is seen when it comes spontaneous comments regarding both persons. Most persons, in the case of Van Rij, express themselves in a rather neutral manner, while in the case of Francis people tend to be either very positive about her and her performance, or very critical/negative, with little in between.
Respondents where also asked to give a report card figure (between 1 and 10, with 1 being very bad and 10 being excellent) for the performance of Van Rij and Francis. On this question, Francis scores an average of 6.1, with Van Rij scoring an average of 5.7.
Here again it can be seen that respondents tend to be more positive about Francis than about Van Rij. In both cases there are respondents who award a 1 to both commissioners, while there are also respondents who award a 10. Both in the case of Van Rij and Francis a score of ‘6’ was most often awarded.