Governance & Integrity

Stegers: Many Conditions for Elections to Take Place

Acting Government Commissioner Mervy Stegers says many things need to happen before elections can take place. Photo: Dick Draijer.
Stegers adressing town hall meeting (foto Dick Draaijer)

Acting Government Commissioner Mervy Stegers says many things need to happen before elections can take place. Photo: Dick Draijer.

Oranjestad- A whole lot of things need to happen before the democratic system on St. Eustatius can be fully restored, including the election of Island Council and reinstatement of the Executive Council. This much could be understood from the interview with acting Government Commissioner Mervyn Stegers on Radio Statia yesterday.

According to Stegers, it will ultimately be the Dutch parliament who will decide if there will be elections in March 2019 or not. Judging on Steger’s words, it does not seem very probable that there will actually be an election as soon as 2019.

Stegers explained during the radio program that many things needed to be in place before elections can happen again. One of the issues, according to Stegers, was the voter registry at the census office which needs urgent updating. Apart from the issue of the voter registry, the lack of street names and house numbers is something which, according to the Government Commissioner, is complicating matters.

Interviewer Glenn Schmidt point out to Stegers that generally, in spite of the state of the voter registry, voters would be found and would come out to vote on election day. “Maybe so”, countered Stegers, “but you might also have voters turning up with voter cards which are not theirs”.

Stegers also hinted at the fact that the body of Government workers need to be better equipped, in order to return to the situation prior to the Dutch take-over. “If you have elections, you also have an Executive Council. We need civil servants who care able to challenge the Executive Council, when they get instructions which are not correct”, said Stegers.

Stegers further mentioned the input of the Colaborative Platform, who had suggested that maybe elections could be held, without fully restoring Government on a local level, but to have at least a functioning Island Council. Stegers seemed to find the suggestion interesting, but reiterated that it was ultimately up to the Dutch Chamber to take a final decision on the local elections.

Schmidt asked Stegers if it was not contradictory for him and Franco to be pro elections, if it would also mean that their own time on St. Eustatius would be cut short. “We do not necessarily want to stay on for 2 years”, said Stegers. “We were hired to do a job and we want to finish that job.”

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