KRALENDIJK/ORANJESTAD- The return to full Democracy on the island of St. Eustatius is ‘a very important matter’. This was stated by the new Secretary for Interior Affairs & Kingdom Relations (BZK), Alexandra van Huffelen, in a one on one interview with The BES-Reporter on Monday afternoon.
“Oh absolutely”, is the first answer of State Secretary Alexandra Van Huffelen on the question if return to full democracy is not about high time, nearly four years after the so-called administrative intervention.
“Democracy is the highest good in our system. And in that sense, it is important that Democracy on St. Eustatius is fully restored. Having said that, it is also very important to ensure that the island is ready for a return to full democracy, and that we ensure together that past mistakes are not repeated once again”, says Van Huffelen.
The state secretary will soon be visiting the island, and will speak to various persons on St. Eustatius. “My visit to St. Eustatius will be an interesting one. There is a list of conditions to be met, before we can return to full democracy on the island. But I would be the first to confirm that this is indeed very important, and this is what we want to see achieved”.
Asked if the State Secretary would do things differently from the way her predecessor Raymond Knops operated, van Huffelen said that many good things had happened under Knops. “I think that Knops has achieved a lot of good things on the island. To me, it is not so much if I would do things different from how he did them. What is important is to notice that this really is a different cabinet, with a different political make-up. We want to do things differently, and the islands are high on our priority list. This can also be seen from the amount of money reserved for Caribbean Netherlands over the coming years”.
The State Secretary admitted that she was concerned about the persistent poverty on the islands. “This will remain one of the toughest challenges, to work towards the eradication of Poverty on the islands.
“I agree with my colleague Marnix van Rij, who is State Secretary for Fiscal Affairs and Tax Office, that certain matters have come together in a rather unfortunate way. This indeed threatens to negatively impact purchasing power for many residents”. Van Huffelen added that this is of course not what the Kabinet wants. “It seems as if these things go against what you actually want”. The State Secretary assured that she, together with colleagues from other departments, would work on limiting negative impact of various matters on the purchasing power of residents on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.