Oranjestad, St. Eustatius- Members of the Statia Island Council feel quite disappointed in State Secretary Raymond Knops, as well as in the process for the return of full democracy on the island.
This much became apparent on Tuesday morning, during a press conference organized by the Island Council members. While Adelka Spanner (DP) was absent, all 4 remaining council members addressed the press and expressed concern -and sometimes even dismay- about the attitude of State Secretary Raymond Knops during his recent visit to the island.
According to the Island Council members, Knops was not only vague about a lot of issues, but also quite dismissive in responding questions from the elected representatives.
The main complaint of the Island Council is the fact that the process of the intervention in the democratic process is now getting too long. Councilman Sneek admitted that he, in principle, had been a proponent of the intervention. “There are now however too many delays and no concrete answers. What strikes me is the fact that Knops does not take any responsibility for the delays. The Island Council is being blamed for these delays. However, it is Knops who promised the Second Chamber that a clear timetable for return to full democracy would be set by the Government Commissioners appointed by him, in consultation with Island Council”.
According to Sneek, Knops was not living up to promises made. Sneek also referred to the fact that there had been a lot of changes in the course of process, which had in the meantime led to delays. Sneek reminded the audience, for instance, that first Franco and Steegers were replaced by Van Rij and Francis and that now, Van Rij had suddenly left the island.
“The point is: You cannot blame this on us”, added Sneek. At the time it was said that the intervention would take ‘as long as necessary’, and ‘as short as possible’. The time to return to full democracy, in my opinion, has long passed.
On June 2nd, 2021 there will be a meeting of the Committee for Kingdom Relations. “I will try to convince the members of Parliament on the Committee, that a time path needs to be established and it is all taking too long now”, said Sneek.