Marnix van Rij
~ In preparation for election ~
ST. EUSTATIUS--Government Commissioner of St. Eustatius Marcolino “Mike” Franco and deputy Commissioner Mervyn Stegers will both end their tenure on February 15, when a new administrative phase will begin in preparation for the Island Council of October 2020. This phase will be led by Marnix van Rij, who has been appointed by the Netherlands’ Council of Ministers as the new Government Commissioner, together with his deputy Alida Francis.
Van Rij was a Member of the Dutch Parliament’s First Chamber for the Christian-Democrat CDA party from June 2015 until June 2019 and a partner at Ernst & Young consultants until July 2019. In his current function he is a strategic advisor for the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations in the Caribbean Netherlands in Bonaire.
New deputy commissioner Francis was born and raised in Statia and has been working in the Caribbean for 30 years. In her latest position she was employed by RCN Communication. She has made an important contribution to the reconstruction of Statia after Hurricane Irma, RCN said in a statement.
Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops said in a statement that Franco and Stegers have brought the various parties together over the past two years, to work together on sustainable fronts for sustainable improvements for St. Eustatius. Knops “warmly” thanked Franco and Stegers for their efforts in the past two years.
The government commissioners took office two years ago when the Temporary Act on Neglect of Duty in St. Eustatius (“Tijdelijke Wet Taakverwaarlozing Sint Eustatius”) went into effect on February 6, 2018, resulting in the Dutch Government’s administrative intervention by which the Executive and Island Councils were dismissed.
The first phase of the intervention focused on rebuilding the island’s infrastructure and reorganising its civil service corps.
“Statia is on the right track. Almost all of the infrastructural and organisational projects are in the implementation phase or will be completed in 2020,” Franco stated.
Both commissioners are of the opinion that a great deal has been achieved these past two years, but at the same time acknowledge that there still is work to do.
“Civil servants and the wider community are encouraged to continue working together in order to achieve these very important milestones in Statia’s development,” said Stegers.
To ensure a smooth continuation of the process, Franco and Stegers along with the directors and unit managers of the public entity St. Eustatius will work together to ensure there is a smooth transfer of tasks that have already been set in motion and are nearing completion. Van Rij and Francis will be officially taking over their predecessors’ tasks from February 15.