Thursday , November 30 2023

Statia says no to the appointment of Isabella as Rijksvertegenwoordiger

The Daily Herald reports that Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk received further rejection Tuesday of his appointment of Gilbert Isabella as the new Dutch Government Representative. The Island Council of St. Eustatius unanimously passed a motion expressing discontent with the followed selection procedure and the resulting appointment of Isabella, a former alderman of the municipality of Utrecht.

The decision came after Commissioner of Constitutional Affairs Reginald Zaandam and the Island Council’s Central Committee had already voiced their disapproval of Isabella to lead Government Service Caribbean Netherlands RCN. A strongly-worded document is now on its way to government offices in the Caribbean, as well as in The Hague. The Island Council insists that “agreed procedures were not followed” and that “the recommendation of the final five candidates should have come to the islands for consultation, which was not done.”

“Based on his Curriculum Vitae, the only experience in the area of governing was his appointment as an alderman for Utrecht from 2011 to May 2014,” the motion explained. “This cannot be termed as having a vast amount of experience in the governing process. Furthermore, the portfolios under his tenure do not guarantee and give assurance of him being capable to deal with or oversee specific problems of the islands in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom.”

Council members pointed out that “being born in Curaçao does not substantiate any affiliation with St. Eustatius, Saba or Bonaire.” They also wondered if Isabella had ever visited these islands.

“Even though the appointed candidate has a vast network in The Hague, that does not qualify him for having the competency of being a liaison, a bridge
builder and to bring the entities together in an effort to solve problems. Each island is different and has its own specific development problems and level
of deprivation. We do not find these qualities in the person appointed, based on the questions arising from his past professional career.”

It is quite rare that all five members of the Island Council immediately and unanimously sign a motion. They concluded with the decision that “the Council is in doubt as to the capabilities and abilities of this political appointee. This does not instil mutual trust in him being able to build bridges between the islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba and The Hague.”


Comments on the CoC BES-week document of last month
Saba school board and parents meet, resolve to move forward