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Petition for return to Democracy in Statia via Change.org

The Government of St. Eustatius is of the opinion that higher/prior supervision, Wolbes and Finbes are inoperative and will therefore no be taken into consideration. Photo: BES-Reporter.
Petition for return to Democracy in Statia via Change.org

ORANJESTAD- On Monday a petition has been initiated via change.org of a group of Statians, to ask of State Secretary Alexandra Van Huffelen, that full democracy is immediately returned to the island.

“We, the people of St. Eustatius, together with our allies, seek the support of the international community in demanding that the Dutch State cease the imposed Dutch rule, immediately!”, according to the introductory text of the petition. 

The petition relates that on February 6, 2018, the St. Eustatius elected government was replaced with Dutch appointed representatives, after a committee investigation of the governing situation on the island, accused the elected government of lawlessness, financial mismanagement, discrimination, and intimidation.

“To this date, no official charges have been filed against the ousted elected officials”, is noted by the organizers. 

The petition also notes that Statians struggle for freedom and self- determination must be viewed within a historical context, which ranged from slave rebellions to boycotts and participation in referenda in support of local autonomy for the island.

Public Entity

On October 10, 2010, St. Eustatius became a public entity of the Netherlands, pursuant to article 132a of the 2018 Dutch Constitution, thereby relinquishing local autonomy to the Dutch State. Integration within the Dutch state has never been the will of the Statian people

“It has been 4 years now since the Dutch intervention in St. Eustatius. Permission was given to the island to organize elections in October 2020. This led to the re-election of all the politicians ousted by the Dutch state”.

The petition also notes that even though elections were held, the elected government is still being denied the right to function, as a body will full legislative and budgetary rights, along with the right to appoint its own executive branch. In addition, the Dutch appointees remain in place despite the return to a reduced level of elected government.

“We make note of the fact that in the December 2014 constitutional referendum held on the island, a majority of those who voted opted for increased autonomy within the Dutch Kingdom. Even though the voter turnout was below the 60% threshold, the elected government of St. Eustatius later adopted the results of the referendum, setting the stage for more local autonomy.

We appeal to the international community to stand in solidarity with us, as we demand that the Dutch State restore all functions of the island’s elected government. We refrain from the use of the word ‘democracy’ because the public entity status is not necessarily democratic, based on the United Nations definition of a territory whose people have obtained a full measure of self-government (see UN resolution 1541 XV)”.

The link to the petition can be found here: https://www.change.org/p/state-secretary-for-kingdom-relations-alexandra-van-huffelen-return-to-full-elected-government-in-st-eustatius-reclaiming-the-statian-voice

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