DH | Dutch parliamentarians pay one-day visit to St. Eustatius

Dutch parliamentarians pay one-day visit to St. Eustatius

Members of the Dutch Parliament’s First and Second Chamber moments after their arrival in St. Eustatius on Monday morning.

Government Commissioner of St. Eustatius Marcolino “Mike” Franco (second right) speaking with chairman of the Dutch parliamentary delegation Jan Paternotte (right) at F.D. Roosevelt Airport.

ST. EUSTATIUS–A delegation consisting of members of the Dutch Parliament’s First and Second Chambers paid a brief visit to St. Eustatius on Monday. The delegation arrived at F.D. Roosevelt Airport around 9:00am on a charter flight.

Government Commissioner Marcolino “Mike” Franco and Deputy Government Commissioner Mervyn Stegers were on hand to welcome the delegation at the airport.

The delegation consisted of chairperson Jan Paternotte (D66), First Chamber members Sophie van Bijsterveld (CDA), Peter van Dijk (PVV) and Helmi Huijbregts-Schiedon (VVD), and Members of the Second Chamber André Bosman (VVD), Antje Diertens (D66), Joba van den Berg (CDA), Nevin Özütok (GroenLinks), Attje Kuiken (PvdA), Machiel de Graaf (PVV) and Ronald van Raak (SP).

They were able to see first-hand what has taken place since the administrative takeover of the Island Government on February 7, 2018. The delegation spoke with the government commissioners, the Social Advisory Council and others on the island about a wide range of topics.

The parliamentarians will also be taking part in the bi-annual Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultations IPKO which will be taking place in St. Maarten January 8-11.

Chairperson Paternotte (D66) said his first visit to Statia was “very pleasant.” He said he had been “really looking forward” to seeing “The Golden Rock.”

He said he had the opportunity to speak to many persons from Statia. One of the highlights for Paternotte was the visit to historical Fort Oranje. He said that the delegation had a “great” meeting with the Advisory Council.

What he really loves about the island is the relaxing lifestyle and that the people on the island seem to “really enjoy life,” Paternotte said.

He commended the islanders about their passion for bringing the island forward. What he hopes for in the year to come is for the infrastructure on the island to be upgraded, as well as improvements to Queen Beatrix Medical Centre and “all the projects that people on the island are looking forward to being completed.”

The delegation visited the power plant and the water-desalination plant, as well as the waste-management site and the recently renovated Government Guesthouse.

“The Government Guesthouse looks really beautiful and the renovation looks brand-new, but the building also looks historic, like it should be,” Paternotte said.

He said it would be “great” if Statia’s historic core, consisting of many historical buildings and landmarks, could become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. “This inclusion could be a possible boost for the island,” Paternotte said.

Paternotte, who is an amateur historian, also made reference to the upcoming 250th anniversary of the First Salute to the American flag. He said the suggestion made by delegation member Van Raak to invite King Willem-Alexander and the President of the United States to celebrate the historic date on November 16, 2026, was a “great idea.”

The visiting parliamentarians left Statia at 6:30pm.

Bron: Daily Herald

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