Published On: Sat, Jun 3rd, 2017

Plasterk condemns case against Statia Governor

plasterkTHE HAGUE – Dutch caretaker Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk is not amused by the move of the St. Eustatius Commissioners to take Acting Island Governor Julian Woodley to court.

In a letter that he sent to the Statia Executive Council on Thursday, Plasterk strongly denounced the initiation of a court injunction by Commissioners Derrick Simmons and Charles Woodley against Julian Woodley because the latter has been refusing to sign certain documents. The injunction took place on Friday.

Plasterk stated that he was “surprised” by the court injunction. “Differences are not solved by taking each other to court. Suing is not only highly unusual, but it also jeopardises every form of decent relations within government. This step of your Commissioners doesn’t show good governance,” he stated.

According to the Minister, it was “more befitting” to stop the legal procedure and to first seek a solution through mediation. The Acting Island Governor has already indicated that he is willing to take part in mediation meetings.

Plasterk stated that he could not imagine that this mediation would not be successful, because the Acting Island Governor also wanted to fulfil his tasks from a perspective of improving government’s integrity.

The Minister stated that “naturally” the Commissioners could turn to Kingdom Government Representative for the Caribbean Netherlands Gilbert Isabella or the Dutch civil servants who are there to provide support, not only to the Acting Island Governor, but to the entire Executive Council.

“I expect the Executive Council to come to the conclusion that a court injunction is out of order and that I, or another governmental entity, will receive a request for mediation,” stated Plasterk who warned the Commissioners that would personally have to feed the bill of the costs associated with the injunction.

“I find it inappropriate to use public funds for legal fees that are caused by government officials who apparently don’t want to have their personal opinions reviewed by other governmental entities,” he stated.

The Minister also chided the Commissioners for initiating a court procedure without first requesting his approval for the legal costs. He noted that this approval is necessary since there is no approved and adopted 2017 budget. “Therefore the legal costs of the plaintiffs are for their own account in this situation.”

The legal costs of the Acting Island Governor, on the other hand, will be paid from the budget of the Public Entity Statia since he was “forced into a legal procedure while he is willing at any time to take part in a mediation.”

The Daily Herald

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