Julian Woodley stays on; tensions with The Hague ease

Julian Woodley seen on an archive picture with Will Johnson. Photo: Harald Linkels

Oranjestad- Tensions between the government of St. Eustatius and The Hague seem to have eased after a second visit to the island by the Secretary-General Richard van Zwol of the Ministery of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations (BZK).

During the visit an agreement has been reached on various issues. One of the outcomes of the meetings is that present acting Island Governor Julian Woodley, will continue to function in this position after the expiration of the initial term, per April 1, 2017.

Emotions had flared up over recent weeks based on insistent rumors and a letter from BZK that The Hague was planning to name a European Dutch candidate as acting Island Governor. An agreement has also been reached over the process to get to a candidate to be named as Island Governor for the full term.

In order to deal with a number of issues, where Oranjestad and The Hague have conflicting views, a committee of 2 so called “wise men” will be instituted to provide advise to parties on the way forward. One of the committee members will be proposed by The Hague, while the other will be proposed by the Government of St. Eustatius.

Furthermore, The Hauge as agreed to so called “technical consultations” concerning Statia’s wish to obtain an autonomous status in free association with the Netherlands. The goal of the consultations is to get more clarity as to what this status would exactly entail.

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