Developments and letters

April - May 2019

On 20 April - another few days before a meeting: I'm trying to make a habit of it - I'll send an update of the Statian developments to the Committee on Kingdom Relations. An e-mail with four annexes (Annex 1, Annex 2, Annex 3 en Annex 4; annexes only in Dutch). In my e-mail I try to link information from previous reports to the information I find on the website of the local government. I'm not doing that very well.

In my last update I talk about the physical and financial progress of a project. By means of an example I will explain what I mean. Suppose you have a holiday of ten days estimated at a thousand euros. Then you have a hundred euros a day. Possibly a little less because you might have some more costs at the beginning (buying a backpack, booking a hotel, etc). But if you're halfway there (the fifth day of the physically achievable holiday) you can expect to have some four to five hundred euros available to spend the rest of the holiday. Your budget is then 50 to 60 percent realized. If the holiday really goes this way, the physical and financial realisation will more or less keep pace. So that goes well.

In fact, you would like to have a document per project that states which end product will be realised, which sub-activities are to be carried out, how they are planned over time and which budget is involved per sub-activity. Only then can you form an opinion. Take for example projects 000028 and 000029: Upgrading website resp. Translator website. It is not very difficult to get the financial realisation right: you need proofs of payment that total about 28 and 40 thousand US dollars respectively (assuming that the amounts in appendix 2 represent the available budgets).

However, the website of the local government is still the same as a few years ago and the appearance is not very "nice" when you consider that the only link that really leads to up-to-date information is that of "Notices, Tenders & Services", after which you still have to look for information that seems to have been thrown into the collection bin chronologically. The other links that seem to have been modified after the intervention of February 2018 are "Welcome", "Isl & Exe Council" and "Directory". For the rest, it's all old information.

And as for the language/translation: the current website is in English and that's enough. It would be more convenient if the site were in two or three languages: not only English, but also Dutch and perhaps Spanish. But setting up a website is not rocket science and translations today (with the help of Google Translate and DeepL: translation sites available free of charge) no longer require specialist knowledge either. In a first impression, 28 or 40-thousand US dollars - a comfortable annual salary anyway - seems to be a lot of budget for the job.

And then there are only two projects, mentioned in appendix 2 of my letter, which are by no means the largest (in a financial sense). The appendix mentions one hundred and eleven.

On 26 May 2019, I will again present a situation sketch to the House of Representatives Committee on Kingdom Relations. The sketch concerns the apparent "nothing" that is happening, whereas one would expect "anything" from an island in an administrative transition. I also indicate that I have arranged the developments to date in a website: The site opens in English and with the little flag at the top right you can switch to the NL-part of the site.

On 29 May 2019 the letter sent by the State Secretary to the Second Chamber of the Parliament will be published containing the third progress report concerning the developments on St. Eustatius (incl the list of projects and the requirements to be met with respect to organising local elections). On 31 May 2019 I will give my reaction (as a letter to the House of Representatives). In that response I make a reference to the CBS-publications (in Dutch) "Trends in The Caribbean Netherlands" about the years 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.