St. Eustatius

Statia’s Island Council makes presentation at IPKO Conference in St. Maarten

Statia's Delegation at the Maho Beach Resort on May 3, 2022

PHILIPSBURG/ORANJESTAD- Based on a request by members of the Island council of Sint Eustatius to the Parliament of Sint Maarten and specifically The Committee of Kingdom Affairs and Interparliamentary Relations, Island council members of Sint Eustatius were invited on Tuesday May 3rd 2022 to make a presentation in the presence of the honorable parliamentary members that included the Committee of Kingdom Affairs, first and second chamber.

Present were Reuben Merkman, Rechelline Leerdam, Clyde van Putten, Koos Sneek, interim Island Registrar Melissa Spanner, and Fraction Support member for the PLP Party, Glenn Schmidt.

During the meeting, the leader of the progressive labor party (PLP) Rechelline Leerdam addressed the conference, speaking mainly of the challenges the Island Council was encountering since the Administrative Intervention by The Hague.

Leerdam spoke, among others about the difficult working relationship with the Government Commissioners, the lack of a concrete time table for restoration of full Democracy, the fact that many criteria for return to Democracy was more in the hands of the Government Commissioners than the Island Council and the issue of underfunding of the island.
Therefore, the Council has opted to set specific, measurable targets and dates, which will lead towards achieving the restoration of democracy with sustainable results.

Good Governance

“All parties within the Island Council are strong supporters of good governance, we also are aware that this involves ongoing processes that optimizes government’s functioning which takes months or even years to achieve”, said Leerdam. The PLP leader also spoke about the need to establish what she referred to as a ‘Democratic Baseline’.

Leerdam also pointed out that a prolonged process for the restoring of democracy allows for what she called ‘an unfavorable system where all the powers and checks and balances are in the hands of one actor’, This, Leerdam said, did not breathe Good Governance.

“We are not comfortable in having all checks and balances, authoritative and executing bodies lying in the hands of one Office. The Effects of this is clear that it will continue to lead towards a lack transparency and good governing issues”, according to Leerdam.

Concerns

Leersam also said it was very important to use the IPKO Platform to express the Island Council’s concerns. “It is important to note the bigger picture of this All, the people of Statia and their right to elect a normal functioning Government like our sister islands for the next upcoming island elections which is slated for March 2023. The people of Statia, just like everywhere in democratic societies, should be able to elect a government that speaks and works on their behalf, and have the right to hold them accountable when they are not doing so”.

Leerdam conclused her presentation by stating that while every party had their own opinion about the intervention which had occured, the vast majority stand together and in unity one the issue that the democratic rights of the people of Statia should be restored.

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