We would like to congratulate the 1,156 Citizens of St. Eustatius that came out to vote in the Referendum, and exercise their Right of Self Determination. Particularly, the 747 Souls that braved the onslaught by the “Nay-Sayers” and voted for STATIA to become an Autonomous Territory within the Dutch Kingdom.
Not forgotten, MR Ricardo Tjie-A-Loi, a casualty of the struggle who performed his duties until the very end. Securing the Ballots in the Netherlands, so that all of us may have a voice Today.
In principle 98% voted against any sort of Integration into the Netherlands. This should give the Dutch Government and Parliament pause – to acknowledge the wishes of the Statia People – and stop all proceedings to anchor the present status in the Constitution of the Netherlands. The Island should remain protected under the ‘Statuut’ as was proclaimed to the International Community in 1954 and set on a path to secure Self Governing with social and economic sustainability as was intended for all the Colonies.
Together, the two camps Autonomy and Public Entity attained 97% of the votes for more Local Autonomy. This fundamental aim of the Referendum is constitutionally a fallacy under the Public Entity Status, to think this can be achieved forming an integral part of the Netherlands. If that were possible under the Dutch Constitution, Friesland and Limburg would be Autonomous Provinces and devoid of Federal Government intervention. Hence, I do plead for all sides to stop the rhetoric and allow the Constitutional Experts and Law Scholars to formulate the best path forward for
St. Eustatius to attain an Autonomous Status under the ‘Statuut’.
There are forces in the Netherlands that wants these islands to remain under Dutch Government control for their own interests and economic benefit. In December 2009 the ‘Motion Remkes’ was accepted by the Second Chamber representing the First assault on the Right of Self Determination for the Islands. The Members of Parliament accepted this knowing full well that the only way out of the entity, The Netherlands, would be a call for Independence by the People of Statia. Minister Donner on more than one occasion made this clear to the Representatives of the islands. Yet they had no qualms delivering us into the hands of the Dutch Government. This would constitute an act of treason by the Collaborators – anywhere else in the world – to sell the birthrights of a people unbeknownst to them. People of Statia, do take notice Who was rewarded for this deed. The Dutch Government drafted the documents in such a manner that it would seemed the Islands asked for this Public Entity. In so doing it would have the appearance internationally of being legal. Worse than Crimea, at least the People exercised their Right of Self Determination, which was also skewed against the Ukrainian Constitution.
Parallel with 10-10-10 these islands should have been anchored in the Dutch Constitution. The outgoing Cabinet Balkenende IV forced this issue through. Only the rise of the PVV of Geert Wilders stopped them from achieving their goal. And the subsequent Cabinet Rutte I could not table this proposition as they were dependent
on the support of the PVV to govern.
Despite objections from the Three Islands, and Parliamentarians in the Netherlands to wait until after the Evaluation in 2015, the motion was tabled by Minister Spies, and passed in the Second Chamber for the First Reading on 23rd October 2012. Fortunately, we were saved by Dutch Politics again as the Members of the First Chamber refused to ratify the Legislation. That is where the Legislation sits until the 18th march 2015 – Provincial Elections in the Netherlands – when the members of a ‘new’ First Chamber will be chosen and the First Reading as required by the Constitution could be completed.
The second caper, the assault on the Referendum and the processes surrounding this culminated in the disenfranchisement of over 800 voters on Wednesday who were denied their Organic Rights under the Constitution to exercise their Right to Vote.
The arrogance and brazenness with which these incidents keep occurring makes one wonder why the Dutch Government, Parliamentarians and/or Civil Servants wants control of Statia so badly. It is so orchestrated that happenstance is excluded.
Since 10-10-10 Dutch Laws are implemented on Statia – thus, also the Rules governing our Elections. Without consultation and evaluation of the merits of the systems at hand, all the customs were discarded in lieu of privacy considerations over transparency.
No Local Observers are allowed in the Polling Station; Only Initials on Voting Cards (European Elections – First and Last Names were used); Married Women are listed by their Maiden Name; No Duplicate Voting Cards available on Referendum Day; The process to verify your name on the Voters List is all but non-existent for the voters list is not distributed nor made available to the Public. No intervention by the Courts to add names to the voters List.
This created the vacuum under which what transpired on Wednesday became reality.
On Tuesday (16 December) our Group – Pro Statia – alerted the United Nations Monitors of this possibility and was astonished a day later to the extent in which this culture was allowed to fester in the most sacred of Departments, namely, The Civil Registry in such
a short time.
Let the Scholars write an opinion on this also. For I do not see how you can count these 800 as Eligible Voters if proven that the Census Office was refusing the voters a Voting Card. Even to the point of making a new ID Card for one individual, yet was not able to obtain his voting card. The amount of Eligible Voters would decrease to 1,746 – bringing the turnout past the required threshold to 66%.
Pollsters the world over are applauding The People of St. Eustatius for coming out and participating in such large numbers – and the overwhelming choice for Autonomy.
One single action by the Governor, bringing all the Voting Cards to the Polling Station on Election Day would have avoided this debacle. And, preserve the trust in the Institution.
As the vanguard of the Kingdom Government, The People of Statia feel violated that their Rights once more were trampled upon. The Island Council as the highest authority on the island who instituted the Referendum in first instance needs to establish an investigative team to investigate the proceedings leading up to Wednesday, 17th December 2014 Referendum Day on Statia. The People of Statia have thus spoken, We do ask the Partners in the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom and The Netherlands to work along with us, And make this desire of The People of Statia and their forefathers a reality.