Oranjestad, May 22nd, 2019
I have taken note of the announcement by the usurping puppet Government installed by the Dutch colonizer on Sint Eustatius, that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Dutch company Woonlinie and the Ministry of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations (BZK) to start a pilot project to renovate one (1!) existing home and build two (2!) new homes in Golden Rock.
The Woonlinie deal is yet another example of plans prepared by the democratically elected and legitimate Government of Sint Eustatius for the benefit of the people of Sint Eustatius being hijacked and changed to suit the agenda of the Dutch colonizers and their friends in the Netherlands. It is also another clear attempt at slowly but surely taking over and selling out the patrimony of the people of Sint Eustatius, all under the guise of helping them, and reorganizing and improving the functioning of local organizations.
The plan presented by Mr. Franco ignores the decision of the Island Council which was taken in the latter part of 2017 to sell thirty-five (35) of the total amount of homes in Golden Rock to the current tenants as a first phase. This decision was applauded even by the Chairman of the Island Council, Mr. Julian C.A. Woodley, at the time
Some of the tenants in Golden Rock have been living in the homes for over 40 years, and the homes will be offered to them at affordable prices ranging from USD. 5,000 to USD. 25,000 each. By also construction additional homes in addition to selling the current ones, the Island Council aims to increase affordable local home ownership
Unfortunately, before this took place, the Dutch colonizer unlawfully took over the Government, and appointed its colonial representatives Mr. Franco and Mr. Stegers to take over the SHF, just as it took over the local Government. During 2016 and 2017, the sale of the thirty-five homes was deliberately boycotted by the former colonial representative in Bonaire, who repeatedly held back the appointment of numerous nominated qualified Board members of the SHF for months without a valid
The Dutch Government is well-known for its outright refusal towards its own Houses of Parliament to structurally raise the social and other benefits for people on the BES- islands. One therefore has to really wonder why a large company like Woonlinie and the Dutch Government have been so
interested in executing this project on Sint Eustatius since 2011, and what the underlying strategy is. Certainly, it is not out of charity or love for the people of Sint Eustatius.
Based on the vague and limited plans and stringent conditions of yearly increasing rent presented so proudly by Mr. Franco, as well as the experiences with Woonlinie on Saba, the residents of Sint Eustatius who are in dire need of affordable housing and wish to own their own homes, will not benefit from this new development at all. It will only continue to keep them dependent in their own country by a foreign Government’s deals with foreign companies.
I can recall that, upon leaving office in July of 2013, former Commissioner Koos Sneek proudly proclaimed to have “saved the plans for constructing social housing in cooperation with Woonlinie from extinction”. What Mr. Sneek still hasn’t explained to the general public though, including those in need of social housing, is why he signed a deal with the SHF as owner Director of Norako, soon after becoming Commissioner of Finance.
Mr. Sneek also hasn’t explained yet why he had a lien placed on the accounts of the SHF when they could not live up to the agreement he tricked them into, which sweetheart deal was struck between Norako and the SHF after the current puppet Government took over and the court case of the SHF against Norako was settled out of court, and who signed off on that deal.
I hereby wish to again remind Mr. Franco that he and others who represent the colonial Government will be legally held accountable for any and all acts committed by them which are in violation of the UN-mandated right of Sint Eustatius and its people to a full measure of self-government.
This includes acts aimed at selling out the patrimony of the people of Sint Eustatius, and unlawfully interfering with the functioning of the local legitimate Government and organizations like the SHF.
Additionally, looking at the shameful track record of the Dutch Government in the Netherlands when it comes to the management of the Tax Department and the Ministry of Justice and Safety, the damage to the houses in Groningen, and the debacle surrounding the renovation of the house of Parliament, just to name few, the Dutch Government has no moral authority either to tell the people of Sint Eustatius how to run their affairs.
How can they pretend to improve the running of Sint Eustatius when they can’t properly manage their own affairs.
In closing, I strongly urge Mr. Franco to uphold, respect, and carry out the decision of the legitimately and democratically elected Island Council regarding the selling of the homes in Golden Rock.
Clyde I. Van Putten
Island Council Member and Leader of the Government of St. Eustatius