PLP refutes DP’s claim about obstruction in Social Housing discussion

PLP Party Leader Rechelline Leerdam (l) addresses the participants in a recent Island Council Meeting.

ORANJESTAD- The Progresive Labour Party (PLP) on Thursday sent out a press release refuting claims by Council Lady Adelka Spanner (DP) that the Progressive Labor Party (PLP) would be obstructing the construction of the new low income homes on Statia.

The PLP does point out that their intent, on the contrary, is to save the social housing entering into the hands of non-local authorities.

“On Monday September 20, 2021 there was an Island Council meeting, where one of the agenda points was the draft ordinance ‘Huur cie en huurprijzen’ and the draft ordinance ‘Huurderssubsidie.’ These two draft ordinances were put on the agenda as one item, to be handled collectively. The PLP faction, after deliberations on the agenda point, made a proposal to return both draft ordinances back to the Central Committee of the Island Council. This would give the Executive Council the opportunity to answer questions posed and provide additional information that was requested. The intention being that at a future date the items could be taken up by the Island Council again”, according to PLP.


According to the PLP, as a pro-active party, in the past we have spoken with private investors and the ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK) about building homes that would be managed by the Statia Housing Foundation (SHF). Over the years, BZK has refused to invest in the local SHF, but subsequently prefers to spend monies on a Dutch housing corporation with subsidy funds, in an attempt to take over the social housing market on Sint. Eustatius.
A Memorandu of Understanding (MOU) was signed on May 19th 2019 by Knops/Franco government ( https://www.saba-news.com/statia-government-signs-mou-with-woonlinie-and-bzk-to-establish-additional-social-housing/ )


During the Island council meeting the PLP faction requested the MOU in question, only to be informed that the Government Commissioner had no knowledge of said document. To date we still have not received this requested document from the current Dutch appointed administrators. “One then has to question, why is the government afraid to give the island council a copy of this MOU? What is so private and incriminating in this MOU? Why would the Democratic Party and the independent member Koos Sneek support this decision in the Island council with such an important piece to the puzzle missing?”, the PLP wonders in their press release.

In exercising our due diligence the PLP has managed to obtain a copy of the MOU from other sources. This MOU stipulates that the Dutch social housing corporation would become owner of all social homes on the island, the Statia housing foundation would then be paid $100 for managing each house, the island government would be required to facilitate that the land where the social homes are to be given in a “erf pacht” (land lease) agreement to the Dutch corporation. The rent would then be increased yearly between 5%-7% and for the construction of the 2 pilot house $450,000-$500,000 has been paid to the Dutch corporation.

Central Committee

As it pertains to the island council proposal, in requesting that the agenda point be returned back to the central committee. The chairperson indicated that this was not possible despite strong disagreements from the PLP faction in the Island council and then proceeded to quote article 14 of the Rules of Order (Reglement van Orde) (RVO). It’s not clear which rules of order she was referring to. However, article 14 of neither the RVO of the Island Council nor of the Central Committee has any bearing on the specific situation at hand; namely, can a draft ordinance be referred back to the Central Committee, from the Island Council.

The Island Council then proceeded to vote on the agenda point and the PLP faction, not wanting to approve the drafts at this stage due to the lack of information, voted against, thereby defeating the drafts.

According to Article 13.2 of the rules of order which should have been applied here, implies that the Island Council can send any proposal/ordinance back to the executive council/central committee as it desires. It is clear that the intention of the PLP faction was to send it back to the central committee, in essence parking it there until such time as the island council is satisfied with the additional information provided by the executive council, and then bring the item back for consideration. Nonetheless, because of the objection raised by the chair the faction had no other option but to vote against the agenda point and end its process then and there. Thus within one Island council agenda point the figurehead government purposely misinformed the representative body of the people on 2 occasions.

The PLP says they caution Council Lady Spanner that the next time she is to make a decision about the people’s business, to make sure that she have all the facts and do not let the proverbial finger in the wind decide.

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