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Dear Editor,

A document that recently came into the hands of the Statia Safe & Sound Foundation entitled "Memorandum of Advice" ('Oplegnotitie') for the decision to cooperate with the start of an amendment procedure "Considerations Expansion Plan NuStar" sheds new light on the status of the Executive Council's 'Amendment Plan NuStar Terminals' and confirms that the one argument that the Executive Council continues to use - the economic one - does not hold ground.

The memo is dated January 18, 2012, only one day before the Executive Council took the decision to agree in principle to the draft Amendment Plan Expansion NuStar Terminals - on certain conditions.

The memo was written by Buro Vijn/RBOI Rotterdam (the agency that assisted the St. Eustatius government with putting together the Spatial Development Plan) for "Rijkswaterstaat" (the department of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure & Environment that was asked to assist the St. Eustatius government with the procedure for NuStar's permits).

The memo lists the following as one of the negative effects of the Amendment Plan NuStar Terminals: "Development of the airport will be hampered by the expansion. With the expansion, the landing strip cannot be extended. The memo considers this a negative effect because "It can be detrimental for tourism, accessibility and the economic development of the island." Asking whether this problem can be solved, the memo concludes that it cannot. The government simply has to make a political choice. Either "St. Eustatius will not make its future social and economic development dependent on the expansion plan with the risk that NuStar cancels its expansion" or "St. Eustatius opts for economic development and job opportunities for the short term and a limitation of the development possibilities of the airport."

The Executive Council - for reasons unknown to the general public - has consciously and willfully chosen for the short term option, with disregard for the long term economic and social development of St. Eustatius. The memo confirms the view of the board of the SS&S Foundation: by allowing a new oil terminal in this location they are putting the economy of the island in a straightjacket.

The memo states that local initiatives have to comply with two documents: the Spatial Development Plan (ROP) and the Strategic Development Plan (SDP). The Amendment Plan is in direct contradiction with the SDP. The memo points out: "In the Strategic Development Plan, St. Eustatius goes for attaining a higher level of prosperity and quality of life through economic and demographic growth, maintaining facilities and development of the spatial qualities of St. Eustatius. The further development of the touristic and economic attractions of the island plays an important role in fulfilling this ambition. In order to make St. Eustatius more attractive for tourists and other economic activities it is desirable that the capacity of the airport can grow so that it can also accommodate larger planes."

Significantly, the SDP also concludes: "NuStar Terminals may increase its activities, but further automation will prevent an increase in job opportunities." "An increase in employment will most likely be the effect of further development of tourism ... combined with a growing number of pensioners." It goes on to say: "For the further development of the tourism sector nature, cultural history and heritage, diving, its unspoiled and relaxed atmosphere are certainly strong selling points for attracting more tourists. An increase in the number of tourists and spending will generate new income for the island which will benefit other sectors such as construction, retail and services and various commercial activities."

Since the only argument the Executive Council uses to defend tanks in The Farm - the economic one - does not comply with the Strategic Development Plan and has in fact been identified by an independent party as short-term thinking, the Plan does not comply with the conditions for amendments as stated in the Spatial Development Plan: benefiting the general interest or providing a clear added value in terms of the economy or job opportunities. The SS&S Foundation therefore urges the politicians of St. Eustatius to initiate a serious and independent investigation of alternative locations.

A Citizens March has been organised for Friday, March 16, to support this call. It will start at the Congo Garden on Mansionweg at 3:00pm and pass through the centre of Oranjestad to end at the Governor's Residence on Van Tonningenweg at about 4:00pm.

Statia Safe & Sound Foundation

Dear Editor,

A document that recently came into the hands of the Statia Safe & Sound Foundation entitled "Memorandum of Advice" ('Oplegnotitie') for the decision to cooperate with the start of an amendment procedure "Considerations Expansion Plan NuStar" sheds new light on the status of the Executive Council's 'Amendment Plan NuStar Terminals' and confirms that the one argument that the Executive Council continues to use - the economic one - does not hold ground.

The memo is dated January 18, 2012, only one day before the Executive Council took the decision to agree in principle to the draft Amendment Plan Expansion NuStar Terminals - on certain conditions.

The memo was written by Buro Vijn/RBOI Rotterdam (the agency that assisted the St. Eustatius government with putting together the Spatial Development Plan) for "Rijkswaterstaat" (the department of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure & Environment that was asked to assist the St. Eustatius government with the procedure for NuStar's permits).

The memo lists the following as one of the negative effects of the Amendment Plan NuStar Terminals: "Development of the airport will be hampered by the expansion. With the expansion, the landing strip cannot be extended. The memo considers this a negative effect because "It can be detrimental for tourism, accessibility and the economic development of the island." Asking whether this problem can be solved, the memo concludes that it cannot. The government simply has to make a political choice. Either "St. Eustatius will not make its future social and economic development dependent on the expansion plan with the risk that NuStar cancels its expansion" or "St. Eustatius opts for economic development and job opportunities for the short term and a limitation of the development possibilities of the airport."

The Executive Council - for reasons unknown to the general public - has consciously and willfully chosen for the short term option, with disregard for the long term economic and social development of St. Eustatius. The memo confirms the view of the board of the SS&S Foundation: by allowing a new oil terminal in this location they are putting the economy of the island in a straightjacket.

The memo states that local initiatives have to comply with two documents: the Spatial Development Plan (ROP) and the Strategic Development Plan (SDP). The Amendment Plan is in direct contradiction with the SDP. The memo points out: "In the Strategic Development Plan, St. Eustatius goes for attaining a higher level of prosperity and quality of life through economic and demographic growth, maintaining facilities and development of the spatial qualities of St. Eustatius. The further development of the touristic and economic attractions of the island plays an important role in fulfilling this ambition. In order to make St. Eustatius more attractive for tourists and other economic activities it is desirable that the capacity of the airport can grow so that it can also accommodate larger planes."

Significantly, the SDP also concludes: "NuStar Terminals may increase its activities, but further automation will prevent an increase in job opportunities." "An increase in employment will most likely be the effect of further development of tourism ... combined with a growing number of pensioners." It goes on to say: "For the further development of the tourism sector nature, cultural history and heritage, diving, its unspoiled and relaxed atmosphere are certainly strong selling points for attracting more tourists. An increase in the number of tourists and spending will generate new income for the island which will benefit other sectors such as construction, retail and services and various commercial activities."

Since the only argument the Executive Council uses to defend tanks in The Farm - the economic one - does not comply with the Strategic Development Plan and has in fact been identified by an independent party as short-term thinking, the Plan does not comply with the conditions for amendments as stated in the Spatial Development Plan: benefiting the general interest or providing a clear added value in terms of the economy or job opportunities. The SS&S Foundation therefore urges the politicians of St. Eustatius to initiate a serious and independent investigation of alternative locations.

A Citizens March has been organised for Friday, March 16, to support this call. It will start at the Congo Garden on Mansionweg at 3:00pm and pass through the centre of Oranjestad to end at the Governor's Residence on Van Tonningenweg at about 4:00pm.

Statia Safe & Sound Foundation