Sneek: ‘Holland can be blamed for burning down of Godet house and should rebuild’

The building was severly damaged by the fire. Photo: Government of Statia
As is nearly always the case with Sneek, the Councilman was very well documented.

ORANJESTAD- Councilman Koos Sneek cannot understand why Local Government has agreed to issue a permit to the Dutch National Real Estate Agency (Rijksvastgoedbedrijf) for the demolition of the Godett house, without explicitly tying to it the obligation to rebuild. Especially since he feels that Holland was negligent in the maintenance of the building, which was already in a poor state.

Sneek made his comments during the Island Council meeting of Thursday, which discussed the situation with Government-owned properties on the island.

Government recently published on the Government Facebook Page the issuing of the demolition permit. The Godett house, after a severe fire on May 22, 2020, is being described as an ‘eye sore’ by many.

“The Public Entity St. Eustatius has granted the required dismantling permit for the previously burned down Tourism Office (Godet House). The structure will be dismantled within a few weeks by the current owner, the Dutch National Real Estate Agency (Rijksvastgoedbedrijf, RVB)”, according to information published on Government’s website.  

Government notices that the dismantling would be necessary, as the building can become a hazard for surrounding historic buildings during hurricane season.


The post on Government’s website also mentions: “The dismantling will take place with the utmost care, whereby usable building elements will be preserved and stored in an appropriate manner. A local contractor and a local supervisor will ensure that this is done carefully, in line with the guidelines of RVB. In addition, a supervisor from the RVB will also be appointed to monitor compliance.  

While reference is made to the ‘preservation of elements’, no word is uttered on the actual reconstruction.

Lack of maintenance

Sneek during his comments referred to the danger that Oranjestad would soon have another empty plot overgrown by Coralita in the historic core of the island. “This building is officially owned by the Dutch government since 2015, but in reality already since 10/10/10. In all that time, the building did not receive maintenance”, said Sneek, who said he also believed the fire could have been caused by lack of maintenance.

Sneek also said that he understand that the permit mentions that a ‘future owner’ should rebuild the property. “So there needs to be a future owner for the property to be rebuild”, said Sneek. Sneek said he would expect the obligation on the Rijksvastgoedbedrijf to rebuild the property. “If not, I find that extremely wrong”, said Sneek.

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