ST. EUSTATIUS–Island Councilman Nicolaas “Koos” Sneek declared himself an independent member of the newly-elected Island Council of St. Eustatius on Friday, October 30.
Sneek stated that he has informed the Democratic Party (DP) of St. Eustatius and chairman of the Island Council Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij of this decision, which he said was “not an easy one to take.”
Sneek said that the main reason for him to come to this decision was a difference of opinion with DP leader Adelka Spanner on the strategy to move forward after yet another loss in the Island Council election of October 21.
“It is not my intention to become like an opposition to the DP, but I hope rather that we can still find common grounds on issues that are important for the island of Statia,” Sneek stated Friday.
One day later, in an open letter to the voters of Statia, Sneek clarified why he took the decision to declare himself independent.
“There is a need for me to clarify what exactly took place in the very first Island Council meeting last Wednesday, which was for me the drop that made the bucket overflow.”
This happened when the election took place for the positions of chairman and vice-chair of the Central Committee, he explained.
“When the chairman of the island council, Mr. Van Rij, requested us to vote, he only on my request made known who were nominated. These were Mr. [Reuben – Ed.] Merkman from the [Progressive Labour Party] PLP and Ms. Spanner, the leader of the DP.
“These nominations were agreed upon according to Mr. Van Rij, in a meeting with the party leaders of the PLP and Ms. Spanner of the DP. This was confirmed by Mr. [Clyde] van Putten of the PLP who stated clearly that his party had decided, apparently also for the DP, that Mr. Merkman and Ms. Spanner were to take those positions,” Sneek said.
He said he was surprised that this was already a done deal. “I was surprised because Ms. Spanner in our party board meeting on Tuesday had explained differently; namely that the PLP had offered the position to her, but she had proposed my name as vice-chair instead. In the Island Council meeting however, she did not contest or even decline her nomination. Clearly, she let the PLP decide who from the Democratic Party gets what position.
“This is unacceptable for me and clearly undermines the position of the DP in the Island Council. With the help of my own party leader the PLP is successful in their attempt to isolate me. The reason for this is that everyone on Statia knows that I am a greater threat to the PLP than Ms. Spanner,” Sneek stated in his open letter.
Spanner stated on behalf of the DP that the party has taken note of Sneek’s decision to leave the party and go independent. “We respect his decision and wish him all the best. We will continue to work together for the benefit of Statia and our people. Our focus remains on achieving a self-sufficient and sustainable Statia for all our people,” said Spanner.
Sneek’s letter to the chairman of the Island Council will be discussed during a public extraordinary meeting of the Island Council at Vincent A. Lopes Legislative Hall at 5:00pm today, Monday, November 2.
Bron: Daily Herald