THURSDAY, 04 JULY 2013
~ Conflict arises in St. Eustatius politics ~
ST. EUSTATIUS–Members of the Democratic Party (DP) of St. Eustatius ousted leader Reuben Merkman Tuesday after he tried to have a DP-supported candidate removed from office.
The board voted unanimously to expel Island Councilman Merkman from the party, because it “objected to the procedure and the way the party leader was acting,” according to a letter signed by members Ralph Berkel and Winston Fleming.
Merkman recently asked the Island Governor of St. Eustatius to convene an Island Council meeting this week to vote out Nicolaas “Koos” Sneek, a DP commissioner. Merkman said that trying to pass a no-confidence vote was in the best interest of “local Statians.”
“For some time the commissioner and my person have been at odds pertaining to many hiring decisions,” Merkman wrote in an e-mail to DP Statia members Monday.
Councilman Franklin Brown agreed with the plan to hold an unscheduled council meeting. Brown is a member of STEP, another Statia political party.
The board had first asked Merkman to reverse his remarks, but when he refused the offer, board members asked him to give up his seat.
“The board felt they had no other alternative after that, than to expel the member rather than break up the party based on the articles of incorporation,” the board said.
Pursuant to Merkman’s request, an extraordinary Island Council meeting will take place on Thursday afternoon at 2:00 in the Vincent Astor Lopes Legislative Hall. The agenda points include the motion of no confidence against Sneek and the possible appointment of a new commissioner for DP, if Sneek’s no-confidence vote passes. Information points to Reginald Zaandam as the person who will be appointed as commissioner in that case.
Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten
Statia Island Council dismisses commissioner Koos Sneek, Reginald Zaandam to be sworn in
FRIDAY, 05 JULY 2013
ST. EUSTATIUS – The Island Council of St. Eustatius passed a motion of no-conﬁdence against Democratic Party (DP) Commissioner Nicolaas “Koos” Sneek on Thursday, dismissing him from duty. The Council then voted for Island Councilman Reginald Zaandam to replace him. It has been a turbulent week for DPStatia. First, former party leader Rueben Merkman called for the no-conﬁdence vote against Sneek, and then his party’s board voted to expel him for this move. Merkman serves as a member of the Island Council.
The political crisis started with the hiring of the wife of Jan Helmond, the Dutch Island Secretary of St. Eustatius, to work in the government’s Human Resources Department. Merkman said he would have preferred a local to ﬁll that vacancy and that did not happen. Resentment also was fuelled by a decision to pay the Island Secretary US $2,000 a month for a house in the Netherlands.
Spectators packed the public gallery at the island’s legislative hall. Council members discussed this issue as well as other matters affecting Statia’s economy, including the island’s road fund taxes. Various insults were traded across the Council ﬂoor. Having gained two seats in the Council, it was revealed that Merkman had visited Sneek at home where they both admitted to wanting the commissioner’s post. “Nobody applied for that vacancy. … But you cannot ﬁll my shoes and you never will,” Sneek told Merkman for the record.
Councilman Franklin Brown lamented the lack of communication between Commissioner Sneek and Council members. “Who is doing what? You have to let colleagues know what is going on,” he told Sneek. He said he also was in favour of employing local talent or at least repatriating Statians from the Netherlands. “We all have Dutch passports but even if you arrive in Schiphol they still treat you like foreigners,” he said. Despite his occasional outbursts, to the shock of the public present, Brown left the legislative hall before voting on the motion of no-conﬁdence commenced.
The motion was passed by three votes to one against. Reginald Zaandam will be sworn in today, Friday, at an Island Council meeting in Vincent Astor Lopes Legislative Hall scheduled to start at 2:00pm. The council did not say whether he would retain Sneek’s portfolio or whether they would redistribute the responsibilities. Previously, Zaandam served as a senator for the DP in the Netherlands Antilles Parliament before leaving the party to form and represent the UPC. Merkman will retain his seat on the Council as an independent. The seat that Zaandam will vacate on the Island Council will be taken over by Elvin Henriques.
Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten
VRIJDAG, 05 JULI 2013
ORANJESTAD— STEP-partijleider en Eilandsraadslid Franklin Brown kwam met het voorstel voor een nieuwe regering op St. Eustatius die op een bredere basis zou steunen. De nieuwe samenstelling zou onder meer inhouden dat de partijleider van PLP Clyde van Putten als gedeputeerde zal aantreden. STEP zal echter waarschijnlijk geen zitting nemen in de nieuwe regering. Dat meldde de St. Maarten Island Time gisteren op de website.
Brown zou met het voorstel zijn gekomen vanwege de huidige politieke situatie op het eiland. Eerder deze week werd de partijleider van de Democratische Partij (DP), gedeputeerde Rueben Merkman, geroyeerd door zijn partij, nadat hij had verzocht om DP-gedeputeerde Nicholas Sneek te ontslaan. Merkman heeft kort daarop aangekondigd als zelfstandig lid zitting te zullen nemen in de Eilandsraad. Naar aanleiding van zijn aankondiging hebben Merkman, Milicent Lijfrock en de partijleider van United People’s Coalition (UPC), Reginald Zaandam, besloten om samen een nieuwe regering te vormen.
Naar verluidt zal Zaandam de functie van gedeputeerde bekleden, terwijl Carlyle Tearr zal blijven zitten als gedeputeerde voor zelfstandig Eilandraadslid Milicent Lijfrock.
Bron: Amigoe, Curacao