St. Eustatius Island Council discusses Sneek’s decision 

 St. Eustatius Island Council  discusses Sneek’s decision 

Clockwise from left: Clyde van Putten (PLP), Rechelline Leerdam (PLP), Reuben Merkman (PLP), civil servant Militza Connell-Maduro, Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij, Councilwoman Adelka Spanner (DP) and Councilman Nicolaas ‘Koos’ Sneek (Independent).



    ~ Debates Sneek’s request to call faction ‘the new Democratic Party’ ~

ST. EUSTATIUS--The decision of newly-elected Island Councilman Nicolaas “Koos” Sneek declaring himself independent from the Democratic Party (DP) on whose slate he was elected was discussed during an extraordinary meeting of the Island Council at V.A. Lopes Legislative Hall on Tuesday.

  Much of the meeting centred around Sneek’s desire to have his faction called “the new Democratic Party,” which he later pulled back and said his faction would be called Faction Sneek for the time being. Sneek sent a letter declaring himself independent on Friday, October 30.

  Currently the Island Council does not have a registrar, so civil servant Militza Connell-Maduro assisted in the meeting’s proceedings. The meeting was chaired by Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij.

  Sneek’s now-independent status, means that there are now three factions in the council. Sneek had said in his letter declaring his independence that he would like his faction to be named “the New Democratic Party.”

  Van Rij said article 10 of the Rules of Order outlines what a faction is and paragraphs 4 and 5 are relevant to Sneek’s request. The article states that if one or more Island Council members or factions are to act as an independent faction or join another faction, the chairperson will be notified in writing as soon as possible. 

  The Island Council member does not need permission from the Island Council for the splitting or forming of new factions. Article G3, states that in the event of a name change, five criteria are to be met. To use the name as a new political party requires registration as an association, etc. Van Rij said what is relevant is that a review has to be made to ensure that all the criteria are met. Normally, this would be done by the Chairperson of the Central Voting Bureau.

  The criteria include that the name should not be in conflict with public order; has to be different from others that exist; should not be misleading for voters; should not have more than 35 letters or other characters; and should be in accordance with a legal entity. A sixth criterion has to do with the registration of parties and if two parties want to use the same name.

  Van Rij said a discussion will be held to determine whether the criteria for the name have to be further discussed in the presidium, Central Committee and thereafter in the Island Council.

  Sneek said he was not aware that the Rules of Order had changed in September 2020 because no one had received the updated documentation. He was not aware of the criteria Van Rij referenced and therefore he pulled back the name “New Democratic Party.” His faction will be referred to as Faction Sneek for the time being until he decides to submit a name that is not in conflict with the names that are closely related to his previous proposed name.

  Island Councilman Clyde van Putten wondered whether it was legal for an Island Councilman who declared himself/herself independent to thereafter name him-/herself as a political party in the Council. He referenced a member of the biggest faction in the lower House of the Dutch Parliament who recently declared themself independent. Van Putten said this person kept their seat in the parliament of the Netherlands and has remained independent, but not under a political name.

  People have declared themselves independent before, Van Putten said, “but it is a first for me and legal scholars, including my own attorney, that a person has a right to declare themselves independent and also submit a party name.”

  The first meeting of the presidium will take place today, November 4, at 3:00pm, between the faction leaders Rechelline Leerdam, Adelka Spanner, Sneek and the chairperson.

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