Statia has its first female island governor

Former government commissioner Alida Francis sworn in today

The Dutch Caribbean island of St Eustatius, commonly known as Statia, has appointed its first-ever female island governor.

Alida Francis, who up until her swearing-in was the government commissioner, took the oath of office today at a ceremony here, attended by family, friends, the former island governor, Gerald Berkel, the acting Kingdom representative, Jan Helmond, legislators, and other dignitaries.

The oath was administered by Helmond, and the Royal decree was read by Bastiaan de Jong, the senior adviser to the kingdom representative. The state secretary of kingdom relations and digitisation, Alexandra van Huffelen, also sent a recorded message.

In her inaugural address, the newly sworn-in island governor acknowledged the historic nature of the occasion, but stressed this would not define her governorship.

“I take this oath before all of you to serve as island governor of the entire island. It is more about Statia and less about me,” she stressed, while making an impassioned plea for the island to work together for the common good.

“We may have differences of opinion, but our principles are the same,” she said. “We may be of different political beliefs or religious faiths, but we share the same bonds of affection. We may live in different homes, but we are the same family. We may have different blood vessels, but a single heartbeat. For we are one Statia. And it is as one Statia that we shall march forward, climbing mountains we thought were insurmountable, breaking barriers we thought were unbreakable, achieving goals we thought were impossible.”

The appointment of the new island governor officially ended the intervention which began in 2018. This means that Statia is now responsible for undertaking its own administrative tasks.


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