Governance

St. Eustatius is part of The Netherlands. It is one of three Caribbean Public Entities (Special Municipality) in the Caribbean. The other two Public Entities are Saba and Bonaire. These 3 islands are commonly referred to as the BES Islands (Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba). 

The main democratic body of the BES islands is the individual island’s own Island Council. In normal times, the executive power of the Public Entity of St. Eustatius rests with the Island Council, which is headed by an Island Governor.

This is not the case at the moment as St. Eustatius is undergoing a period of transition. Currently the island is governed by a Government Commissioner and a Deputy Government Commissioner. The ‘Temporary Act on Neglect of Duties’ was a motion submitted to the Dutch House of Representatives on February 5th, 2018.  On 7th February, 2018 the entirety of the island authorities of St. Eustatius were replaced by a Government Commissioner and Deputy Government Commissioner.

The Dutch government decided to immediately adopt the submitted motion because the Island Council, the Executive Council and the Governor were not performing their tasks effectively. The goal was, and continues to be, to stabilize and normalize the administrative bodies on the island and to restore full democracy. It is proposed that elections be held by 2021 at the latest. At that point, a new Island Council will be elected.

The current Government Commissioner, Marnix van Rij, will govern the island until the administration of St. Eustatius has been deemed ready for self-governance.