The Hague – For the time being, the election of a new Island Council on St. Eustatius, scheduled for 21 October 2020, seems to be on track, despite corona. “Although covid-19 presents the necessary logistical challenges, there are currently no bottlenecks in the preparation and organization of the election”, State Secretary Raymond Knops writes to the Second Chamber.
The minister nevertheless is still cautious. “Although this is not yet the case, it cannot be ruled out that the measures with regard to the Coronavirus are such that it is no longer possible to properly implement the guarantees of the election process. Should that happen, postponement of the elections is necessary. ”Extra precautions have been taken to ensure that the polls run as safely as possible.
In February 2018, Knops replaced the entire local administration for ‘serious neglect of duties’ with a Government Commissioner. “A lot of work has been done on St. Eustatius since the moment of intervention. Although difficulties have also arisen and the challenges on the island are still considerable, progress has been made in all areas. With the island council elections on October 21, a new phase will begin and an important start will be made on the restoration of democracy on the island”, said Knops.
“There is still a lot of work to be done to organize good governance in a sustainable way and even in these challenging times, the Government commissioner and his deputy, the local team, the Public Entity and the relevant departments in The Hague are working hard on this. After the island council elections, I hope for active participation of the island council in the day-to-day administration of the island. The Government Commissioner is also making every effort, together with the Island Council, to provide a roadmap that provides further direction for a full return to regular administrative relationships. “
Knops praised the hard work that has so far been done by the Government Commissioner and his deputy, his team and the Public Entity, and the improvements that have been made within the Public Entity so that the conditions for holding the island council elections have been met. “This is a big step forward and in the interest of the residents of St. Eustatius, who, by choosing an Island Council, are taking an important step towards the restoration of Democracy”.
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