Process renewal of Statia’s Ordinances picks up pace

Legal Affairs of the Public Entity of St. Eustatius has been working on renewing and replacing ordinances for the last two years. After a period of building up cooperation with the Ministry of Interior and Erasmus University, the pace is starting to pick up.

The ordinances being renewed mostly stem from before Statia became part of The Netherlands as a Special Municipality in 2010. Renewal of the ordinances has been adopted into the criteria for restoring democratic provisions, by State Secretary Raymond Knops.

More than 50 ordinances are up for revision. Many ordinances currently in place still refer to the Dutch Antilles as central national legal framework for the island local legislation. The Supervision and Enforcement elements in the ordinances are an example of this. In the meantime, society has changed and ordinances need to be updated accordingly, to catch up with developments. Regulations to protect the marine, flora and fauna for instance, stem from the early 90s. Since then, new species have been discovered and a harbor zone has been designated. Hospitality operational licensing does not take into account the existence of AirBnB.

The process of renewing ordinances starts with assessing the current regulations. Legal Affairs of the Public Entity is in the lead, by indicating which aspects need to be updated, based on input from the Directorates and partners, for whom the new ordinances provide a legal framework. The Erasmus University in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, drafts ordinances related to finance. The Ministry of Internal Affairs drafts ordinances for other policy areas. Draft ordinances are assessed by Legal Affairs on Statia, in coordination with the Directorates and partners concerned. This stage is about fine-tuning and making final adjustment. In case of the Nature and Environment legislation for example, this means that the St. Eustatius National Parks foundation (STENAPA), Caribbean Netherlands Science Institute (CNSI) and representatives of the fishermen will be involved to give their input regarding the draft legislation.
Ultimately, the Government Commissioner is responsible for the final acceptance of the new legislation. Renewed ordinances are published on this website.

Some of the most influential legislation being renewed, are the Nature and Environment legislation and the Subsidy Ordinance. The ordinance regulating roles and functions of the Island Council is also renewed. Other ordinances to be revised are the Waste Tax and Vehicle Tax ordinances. The revisions concern technical revisions and involve updating, clarifying and rewording legislation, to fit the current situation. In case of taxes, the Fin BES dictates which are possible and a basic indication of what the law actually entails.

The process of revision will be completed by the end of 2020. To deal with this and the increased work load in general at  Legal Affairs the team has been expanded with a new policy advisor, Darold Doest. He started his task from home in Suriname and will join the team on Statia as soon as COVID 19 precautionary measures allow it.