St. Eustatius, locally referred to as “Statia”, is part of The Netherlands. It is one of three Public Entities (Special Municipality) in the Caribbean, together with Saba and Bonaire (also known as the BES Islands).
The legal structure of the government on the island is almost similar as common Dutch municipality. It consists of a democratically chosen Island Council, a Governor and an Executive Council. Normally in St. Eustatius there are 2 Commissioners.
St. Eustatius is currently undergoing a period of transition. After an investigation by the government in the Netherlands in February 2018, the ‘Temporary Act on Neglect of Duties’ passed through Dutch parliament. This law was put in place to restore administrative order.
The Island Council was (temporarily) dissolved. A Government Commissioner and a Deputy Commissioner were appointed. This means that the current government is (partly) structured in a different way.
In 2020, the Restoration Act was passed with the objective to extend the temporary provisions for a determinate period. In addition, the purpose of this law is to lay down rules for a gradual restoration of the provisions for the administration of the Public Entity St. Eustatius.
The restoration of normal administrative relationships and local democracy for St. Eustatius will be continued by meeting 12 main criteria.
In October 2020, the Island Council was elected. This was an important step in the gradual restoration.
For the time being the Government Commissioner retains additional powers, e.g. the appointment of personnel and the responsibility for the budgets including financial regulations and the approval of other regulations. Preparing policy and regulations in a joint effort with the Island Council, people and stakeholders is being intensified.