STATIA ENTERS NEXT PHASE OF THE RETURN TO DEMOCRACY ~Two commissioners will be appointed ~
ORANJESTAD, St. Eustatius (30 September 2022) – Crucial steps have been taken on St. Eustatius towards the return to democracy. The government of St. Eustatius is now ready to enter the next phase of the Provision Restoration Act St. Eustatius (Wet herstel voorzieningen Sint Eustatius) upcoming Monday 3 October.
In this phase, the Island Council will reacquire the authority to appoint and dismiss the members of the Executive Council. This means that two commissioners will be appointed on Tuesday 4 October by the Progressive Labour Party (PLP), the largest party in St. Eustatius. PLP already announced the names of the two commissioners: Mr. Glenville Schmidt and Mr. Derrick Simmons.
The transition between the different phases of the gradual return to democracy is always marked by the issuing of a Royal Decree, signed by His Majesty King Willem-Alexander. The Royal Decree sets the date on which the next phase will take effect. The King signed the Royal Decree yesterday, Thursday 29 September. The decree has been published and will enter into force on Monday 3 October.
The conditions to allow the start of phase 2 are met. Per the Act Restoration Provisions St. Eustatius this was required to be able to appoint Commissioners. All the island ordinances have been adopted and entered into force. The procedures and work instructions of the Island Council are renewed, the work processes and the system for the issuing of permits and exemptions are updated.
In phase 2, the Island Council can exercise its right to ask questions, call for an emergency debate, and has the power to dismiss members of the Executive Council, for example after passing a resolution of no confidence in the member concerned.
Once the Commissioners are appointed by the Island Council, they will form the Executive Council together with the Government Commissioner. The Government Commissioner continues to perform the duties of the Lieutenant Governor and will also continue to chair the meetings of the Island Council.
The Government Commissioner remains responsible for the appointment, suspension and dismissal of civil servants through the Human Resources Unit. This also counts for Financial Management of the local administration, security and public order and crisis management.
In 2018, the Netherlands took over the administration of St. Eustatius following the report of the Committee of Wise Persons, which stated that there had been gross neglect of duty by the island authorities of St. Eustatius. The Island Council was dissolved, and the island executive body relieved of its duties. A Government Commissioner was appointed and has since administered the affairs of St Eustatius