Grapperhaus and Knops visit Statia

The Minister of Justice and Security, Mr. Ferdinand Grapperhaus, accompanied by State Secretary of Interior and Kingdom Relations, Mr. Raymond Knops paid a visit to St. Eustatius on Sunday April 29th and Monday April 30th. The theme of this visit was the reconstruction of the island in the broadest sense of the word. Both the Minister and State Secretary were pleased with the talks they held with public and private sector stakeholders.

Grapperhaus and Knops were keen to learn firsthand what are the main questions, challenges and concerns on Statia. Meetings were therefore held with Fire Department, Caribbean Netherlands Police Department, Unit Managers and Department Heads of the Island Government, St. Eustatius Community Care, and Public Health, Rights of the Child Coordinator, the Advisory Council and St. Eustatius National Parks (STENAPA). “I have seen how the Central Government Commissioner, civil society and the civil service are focused on the people of Statia as a whole and also on the people that need care the most. I therefore leave St. Eustatius with a good feeling that things will fall into place”, Minister Grapperhaus.

The Dutch Central Government is working along with the Central Government Commissioners to rebuild St. Eustatius following the impact of hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. Apart from rebuilding homes efforts are ongoing to strengthen the administrative and financial capacity of the local government. Strengthening the civil service is further of vital importance. “I am encouraged by how motivated everyone is to work together for a better Statia. Meetings with the Advisory Council and the Unit Managers were open and substantive. Civil servants are encouraged to think outside the box, be creative and make long term concrete plans. Visible progress is important for the people of Statia and this is what they deserve”, says Knops.