Thursday , November 30 2023

National Government intervenes on St. Eustatius (Update: report available for download)


The Refunjol-Janssen report (in Dutch) is available for download at the bottom of this post (845 KB).


Today, State Secretary Knops (Kingdom Relations) has submitted a bill to the House of Representatives to be able to intervene administratively on St. Eustatius. The bill stipulates that the island council will be dissolved and the deputies and acting lieutenant governor will be relieved of their duties. A government commissioner is appointed who will provide for the administration of St. Eustatius. The intervention is a reaction to the report of the ‘committee of sages’, who found “gross neglect of duties” on St. Eustatius. This task neglect is at the expense of citizens and businesses on the island.

The administrative situation on St. Eustatius has been a concern for some time. Previous measures to improve the situation have not had the desired effect. The then Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations has therefore set up a committee of sages to map out the problems and make recommendations. The committee, consisting of Mr. F.J. Refunjol and Mr. J. Franssen, concludes that the administration of St. Eustatius has set itself outside the legal order.

The current administrative situation is characterized by lawlessness and financial mismanagement, but also by discrimination, intimidation, threats and insults, arbitrariness and the pursuit of personal power at the expense of the residents of St. Eustatius. The committee concludes that there is gross neglect of duties and advises administrative intervention by the government.

The administrative situation has far-reaching consequences for the daily life of the population of St. Eustatius. Citizens and entrepreneurs experience legal inequality. No administration is in order and the island is neglected in a physical sense.

“Since other measures have not brought government to repentance, there is only one thing to do: administrative intervention. It is the toughest measure, but now that everything else fails, it is the only possibility that remains. The people on St. Eustatius deserve better. “According to State Secretary Knops. He will travel to the island this week to explain the decision to the population.

The committee of sages is also critical of the role of the Dutch government in the development of the current situation. Partly as a result of the administrative situation on the island and its consequences for the relations between the Netherlands and St. Eustatius, in recent years arrears have arisen in projects to improve roads, water supply, housing, underground pipelines, waste processing and the sea and sea. airport. These backlogs must be paid. Following the advice of the commission, investments will be accelerated wherever possible.

In his advice to the government about the bill, the Council of State endorses the fact that there is gross negligence in St. Eustatius. The Council agrees with the proposed measures. On the advice of the Council, the bill and the explanatory notes on components have been slightly modified and clarified.

The government commissioner will perform all duties and powers of the island government. This will take until the government of St. Eustatius is able to fulfill its duties properly again. Only when that is the case, elections for a new island council will be held, so that a new government can take office.


Click for downloading the report. (in Dutch 845 KB)


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