Friday , March 24 2023

Gilbert Isabella to visit Statia and Saba

New Dutch Government Representative Gilbert Isabella will be paying an official visit to St. Eustatius, Saba and Bonaire from today, Tuesday until Saturday, writes The Daily Herald. Isabella will be starting his visit to acquaint himself with the Caribbean Netherlands on Statia today. He will be welcomed by Island Governor Gerald Berkel at F.D. Roosevelt Airport at 1:40pm, after which he will be meeting with staff at Government Service Caribbean Netherlands RCN. Talks with the Governor and the Island Council are also scheduled, as well as an island tour during which the developments since October 10, 2010 will be showcased.

After a meeting with Statia’s Executive Council on Wednesday morning, Isabella will be flying to Saba, where he will be welcomed by Island Governor Jonathan Johnson at 1:40pm. Also on Saba, introductory talks are scheduled with the Governor, the Executive and Island Councils and with RCN. On Thursday, talks with local historian and former commissioner Will Johnson are scheduled, as well as an island tour. After an evaluation of the visit to Saba and Statia, Isabella and his delegation will be heading for Bonaire.

Isabella’s delegation will consist of Secretary-General of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Richard van Zwol, liaison for Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Susanne Caarls, Chief Communication at RCN Lucia Beck and Senior Communication Advisor for Statia and Saba Alida Francis.

Isabella’s appointment as new Government Representative is not without controversy. The Island Council of Statia adopted a motion against Isabella’s appointment as successor of Wilbert Stolte, who resigned as per May 1. In the motion, which was adopted unanimously, the Island Council stated that as former alderman in Utrecht, Isabella would have no experience in the Caribbean Netherlands. The Island Council also stated it had little confidence in Isabella’s ability to “build bridges” between the islands and the Dutch government in The Hague.
Party for Freedom PVV and Socialist Party (SP) also posed critical questions about Isabella’s appointment in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament.

Isabella was sworn in by King Willem-Alexander on July 16. He will be taking up his official duties as Government Representative in September.


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