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Commissioner Simmons says seeking autonomy in line with people’s wishes

ST. EUSTATIUS—The Commissioner of Constitutional Affairs Derrick Simmons said that the agreement signed between international advisor on democratic governance Carlyle G. Corbin and the Public Entity St. Eustatius is in accordance with the Island Council motion that was passed on November 30.

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In said motion, The Executive Council is charged with preparing a concrete plan of action for achieving full autonomy in free association with the Netherlands, which by extension means that the Commissioner of Constitutional Affairs has the mandate to execute activities in line with achieving this goal, he said.

The Commissioner said that Statia’s desire for full autonomy in free association with the Netherlands implies that Statia seeks an autonomous arrangement within the Dutch Kingdom, in accordance with the outcome of the December 17, 2014, referendum.

The term “free association”, he said, refers to a form of self- government in accordance to United Nations (UN) resolution 1541 (XV). Commissioner Simmons further explained that free association implies that the people of a territory have the freedom to determine their own constitution without outside interference.

The Commissioner stated that voices within the Dutch Parliament’s First and Second Chambers have recently indicated that there is a need to fundamentally restructure and modernize the Kingdom Charter in order to accommodate the wishes regarding self- determination of the populations of the Dutch Caribbean Netherlands.

“It can be argued that the current autonomous arrangements within the Dutch Kingdom, do not meet UN standards of full internal self- government, as the Dutch Government still holds the extensive power to block legislative and administrative activities conducted in the Caribbean Netherlands. Challenging the democratic deficits within the Kingdom Charter should concern all of us, not just some of us”, Simmons said.

Within the Dutch Kingdom all referendums conducted are consultative in nature, Simmons said. “However, the fact remains that the Island Council has the authority to validate referenda results just as it had the earlier authority to select the Public Entity Status even as the people of Statia had systematically voted to remain in the autonomous country of the Netherlands Antilles in the past,” the Commissioner said.

Simmons assured the public that the move towards an autonomous arrangement within the Dutch Kingdom is being carefully prepared with the assistance of relevant advisors, and in consultation with the people of Statia, “because the move towards autonomy requires the involvement of all citizens.”

Source: The Daily Herald

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