Lots of fireworks during Statia Island Council Meeting on Thursday

Lots of fireworks during Statia Island Council Meeting on Thursday
PLP-leader Rechelline Leerdam addressing the Island Council on Thursday

ORANJESTAD- There was a lot of verbal fireworks during Thursday’s Island Council meeting, with as main topic the so-called route map to the restoration of full Democracy on the island. Councilmen Koos Sneek and Clyde van Putten were the most vocal speakers, but nearly all council members showed themselves critical of the process.

“You are delaying the process on purpose”, said a fiery Koos Sneek. Sneek also accused the two government Commissioners, Alida Francis and Claudia Toet of telling lies to Dutch parliament and at the ministry of Internal Affairs. “You are not working with the Island Council. You tell Knops that we (the Island Council, editor) obstruct the process. This is simply not true”, said Sneek angrily. Sneek also said, that this what was happened when you put unqualified people in charge of a difficult task. Sneek stopped short of saying who he deemed unqualified for the job. 

Van Putten

Clyde van Putten was also very vocal. “They are bringing down too much Caucasian workers, and they are not even qualified for the job. They are replacing our own local civil servants”, said Van Putten. Van Putten asked the Government to provide the Island Council with a breakdown of who had been hired at Government since the Dutch Intervention. Van Putten, later in the meeting, refused to apologize for the use of the word Caucasian. “When we go to Holland the call us ‘allochtoon’ too” said Van Putten, who denied that Caucasian, used in reference to among others acting Commissioner Claudia Toet, was a bad word.  

Both Van Putten and Sneek pointed to the fact that it was unfair to show to so-called progress which was happening since the Dutch turnover. Sneek: ”We also wanted to fix the Rock too, but we didn’t get the money necessary. And now it is all made available. That has nothing to do with the intervention. When I was commissioner, I wanted to fix certain thing and so did Mr. Van Putten when his Government was in office. But the money was never there”. 

Van Putten decried the fact that not enough money was being made available to the Public Entities (Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba) by the Dutch Government. “This free allowance is simply not enough”, said van Putten. “This is especially true if you consider how much money Holland makes available to other countries who are no part of the Kingdom”. 

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