St. Eustatius Monuments Foundation (SEMF) won the appeal at the Joint Court of Aruba, Curaçao, St. Maarten and of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, in their case against the Spatial Development Plan as adopted by the Island Council of Statia. This can be read in The Daily Herald. SEMF’s case was primarily against an amendment facility in the plan that enabled a decision to construct a new oil terminal south of Signal Hill to be “rushed through” by the Executive Council.
The judge of the Court of First Instance had previously ruled that SEMF was inadmissible in its case. It was the judge’s opinion that SEMF would only be affected by the actual use of the amendment facility and not by the facility itself. This decision has now been declared null and void. Attorney-at-law Bert Hofman represented the Island Council in the appeal. As an interested third party, NuStar Terminals NV had also been requested to appear. The company was represented in court by lawyer Thijs Leijsen. Director of the Monuments Foundation Walter Hellebrand spoke on behalf of the foundation.
The two lawyers repeated the arguments they had used in the Court of First Instance. Hellebrand had stated during the hearing that the amendment possibility posed a considerable risk to the protection of Statia’s heritage and safety as it enables a swift, low-profile procedure for the most far-reaching element in the Spatial Development Plan. Instead of a careful process with proper information sessions for the general public and opportunities for active involvement and participation, it only requires for the decision of the Executive Council to be available for public consultation for a period of 15 days. The Joint Court stated in its verdict that this plea was successful and has ordered that the case will have to be dealt with by the Court in First Instance in its full entirety once again. SEMF is opposed to a new oil terminal south of Signal Hill, as it will be located too close to Oranjestad, threatening the monumental aspect of the historic core.