By René Zwart
Oranjestad – State Secretary Raymond Knops of the Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations and minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security have wrapped up their one-and-a-half-day working visit to St. Eustatius. The minister and state secretary have in the meantime arrived in Saba.
On St. Eustatius, the members of Dutch government were informed by (central) government commissioner Mike Franco about the state of affairs, after local government was put aside at the beginning of February.
Knops and Grapperhaus also spoke with members of the social-advisory council which provides feedback to Franco, whose task it is to restore the administrative order. There was also a meeting with department heads of local government.
Knops and Grapperhaus visited the solar park which should provide the island with sustainable and affordable energy, but which also collects condensation that can be used in agriculture. A visit was also paid to the police cells to see with their own eyes that a new (small) prison must be built or the current accommodation has to be improved. Currently the small police force on the island is spending a lot of time transferring prisoners to Bonaire.
The Ministers also gave the go-ahead for the project to remove car wrecks, by removing the first wreck themselves. Knops and Grapperhaus received a presentation from Stinapa, giving them un update how things stand with nature after the hurricanes Irma and Maria.
On their departure Knops spoke of a ‘very nice visit’ where they met ‘A lot of cordiality’. For the state secretary, it was the third time that he visited St. Eustatius after the hurricane. Knops praised what he called ‘the resilience of the Statian people’.