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Van Rij Explains Move in Audio Message to Statian Residents

Oranjestad, St. Eustatius- In a taped audio message Government Commisioner Marnix van Rij wished residents on the island a happy Easter, and provided some information about his impending return to the Netherlands to take up a new task at his CDA party.

“Dear Statian residents, first of all I wish all of you a Happy Easter. Easter is the time to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Personally, I have to inform you that I have taken a difficult decision. I have been asked by my political party (CDA) in the Netherlands to help them out in a severe crisis. I have been a member of my party since I was 23 years old. The political situation in the European part of the Netherlands is very unstable at this moment. I therefore feel that it is my duty to contribute in this very difficult situation for the Kingdom in my new role.

My appointment as the Interim Chairman of CDA was announced Saturday afternoon. My Deputy Government Commmissioner, Alida Francis and acting Island Secretary, Malvern Dijkshorn-Lopes, were informed earlier this week of this eventuality. State Secretary, Raymond Knops, responsible for Kingdom Relations has accepted my resignation. I will officially vacate my position as Government Commissioner of St. Eustatius on the 18th of April.

I take this opportunity to thank all Statian residents, for giving me the honor of steering us through the unexpected pandemic these past 13 months. The island is since October 21st, COVID-free due to a carefully mapped out strategy developed by our COVID-19 crisis team in close consultation and collaboration with the different stakeholders locally, regionally and in the Netherlands. In the meantime together (public sector, private sector and community) we have achieved a great deal in other areas: Phase -1 of the restoration of democracy culminating in the installation of a democratically elected Island Council and the realization of a lot of projects that will lay a more solid foundation for the further development of St. Eustatius Just look around.

I realize that I was too short in my role as Government Commissioner to complete phases 2 and 3 of the Restoration Act Services St. Eustatius 2020, but I assure you the foundation is already laid. Deputy Government Commissioner, Alida Francis, is the stable factor of continuity.  I will remember this last year as a challenging year professionally, due to COVID-19, but also as a warm and enriching year thanks to the team and all Statians who have the best at heart for the island.

Dear Statians, I can give you one advice: please continue to work together and with the government. This is in the best interest of building a stronger Statia for the benefit of all the people.

I hope you will have a joyous and Easter celebration. Remain vigilant and may God Bless you all.

Marnix van Rij”

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