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Political upheaval on St. Eustatius: Democratic Party boots leader for defying party


~ 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


STEP niet in nieuwe regering


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

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