Know their vote counts

Know their vote counts

Former Antillean Prime Ministers Maria Liberia-Peters and Suzy Camelia-Römer as mediators between the Island Council of St. Eustatius and Dutch-appointed government commissioners (see Monday paper) delivered a balanced report. It came to the only logical conclusion, namely that full democracy on the island intervened into by the Netherlands since 2018 ought to be restored as soon as possible, in this case at least after the 2023 election.
However, should this not be considered feasible yet by The Hague, the two ex-leaders of “Partido Nashonal di Pueblo” (PNP) in Curaçao also offered a less intrusive setup than the current one. They proposed an instrument of temporary preventive higher supervision instead.
The difference is that rather than direct involvement in governing the public body, this would be left to the locally elected representatives and public administrators they nominate, along with the Island Governor. Their decisions would require the supervisor’s approval before they can be implemented.
Although hardly ideal, if limited to a certain period while administrative support is provided as suggested, this might be a sensible transitional alternative. Having an “own” Executive Council can indeed help restore the citizens’ understandable lack of confidence in elections.
Keep in mind that Statia chose twice to remain in the now-no-longer-existent Netherlands Antilles during constitutional referenda; however, had no choice when all four other islands opted to dismantle the country. That left Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba (BES) to become Caribbean parts of the Netherlands.
It is thus no wonder residents over the years may have lost a bit of faith in not just politics, but the entire democratic process. This ultimately benefits nobody and will take some time to address with a concerted effort all parties must be prepared to continually make.
People want to see local leaders take ownership of and responsibility for what goes on in the community. They need to know their vote counts, it’s as simple as that.

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