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Brief History
The political status of Sint Eustatius (Statia), as in other countries with elected governments, determines how the people and their government relate to the rest of the world, with neighbouring countries, and with the Kingdom of the Netherlands with whom a longstanding political relationship has been established. Political status involves the evolution to a full measure of self-government with the full recognition that Statia is a small island country with limited population and resources, but with the significant human resource of the people of Statia on the island and abroad.

The political status of Statia affects the daily life of the people of Statia. It affects the standard of living, access to quality health care, the quality of the educational system that prepares young people for the future, the ability to travel, the type of society which is enjoyed, and more. The present status of public entity came about as a result of the 2006 agreement which was implemented on October 10, 2010 (10-10-10). Through a series of referenda, Sint Maarten and Curacao chose to be separate autonomous countries. Meanwhile, Saba and Bonaire chose direct ties with the Kingdom. Because the majority of the people of Statia choose to remain part of the Netherlands Antilles in the 2005 referendum, it has been decided to give the people a chance to determine whether the public entity status resulting from the direct ties is what is desirable, whether it requires more autonomy, or whether relations with the world through complete independence is in the long term interest of the people.

After more than four years of this present status, Statia's elected leaders have provided the means for the people to be consulted on their political status choice through a new referendum. This is the opportunity to re-visit whether the current status is what is desired, or whether an alternative option is better. In order to make the best decision in this referendum, close attention should be paid to each of the alternatives for a sense of how each political status option might affect the lives of Statians. In this way, the people will be able to choose which of the options would provide the best way forward for the future. Once the option is chosen, Statia's leadership will begin the important task of holding discussions with the Kingdom on how to make the chosen option a reality.

But whatever the option chosen, external support would be critical. If change in the public entity status is recommended, this would require a level of support from the National Government, and even from international organizations like the United Nations, to assist Statia in making the transition. If the people choose to remain in the public entity status, there will still be the need for certain changes and enhancements. All of this will take time, but in the end, the choice in the referendum should be put in place, and the will of the people should be realized.



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