National Government Representative (Rijksvertegenwoordiger) for the Dutch public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba Wilbert Stolte supports an increase in the free allowance (vrije uitkering) for the islands. The free allowance is not only essential to cover the tasks that have been assigned to the local government, but is also needed to pay for regular maintenance and the “highly necessary” backlog in maintenance of public facilities such as roads, government buildings and utility facilities, stated Representative Stolte in his second progress report.
In his report, which was drafted in February and sent to the Second Chamber earlier this week, Stolte speaks of “deep holes” in roads in Bonaire and St. Eustatius. This in contrast to the “state-of-the-art” educational material which the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science made available to secondary schools on the islands.
“The budgets provide (almost) no room to catch up with overdue maintenance. Unlike in the European part of The Netherlands, the islands do not have (strategic) reserves, and the financial capacity of the population is low. This makes the islands vulnerable to financial setbacks and offers little perspective for development,” according to Stolte.
The reference research, initiated by the Dutch Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK, of which the results were not known yet at the time of the drafting of the progress report, has shown that the free allowance is too low. Minister Spies confirmed this at a press briefing following consultation with Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba last Thursday.
Representative Stolte stated that it is important to take swift measures following the reference research, “because the differences between the levels of facilities that the local government and the national government offer are incomprehensible to citizens.” Besides the holes in the roads and state-of-the-art school books, he also mentioned the mismatch between the housing of Dutch ministries on the islands and the local government departments. The housing of the Dutch ministries is “modern and adequate”, while civil servants of the public entity have to rely on “outdated and often inadequate” housing. “This disparity keeps raising more questions. The current lack of resources of the public entities results in a neglect of the public facilities that cannot be justified. These differences should be rectified quickly,” stated the Representative.
But Stolte pointed out that it is not only a matter of adjusting the free allowance. Local government also has a responsibility to spend its money wisely. “Local governments have to increase efficiency of public spending and strengthen financial management ensuring that more resources are available for much-needed investments.”
The free allowance for Bonaire for 2012 has been set at US $20.4 million, the 2012 contribution to St. Eustatius at US $8 million and Saba US $6.9 million. Bonaire’s total budget for 2012 is US $52 million. Statia’s 2012 budget is US $11.9 million and that of Saba US $7.9 million.
The progress report of the Rijksvertegenwoordiger is a public document. It is available in three languages at the offices of the Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland (RCN) on the three islands and it can also be downloaded from the RCN Website.
Click HERE to read the earlier article on SabaNews.nl from where you can download the report of Mr. Stolte in English.
The free allowence is to low and the taxes are to high. The tax collected is already way more then intended (of course we shouldn’t know that because we could “misinterpret” that). The spending power of the population and businesses is decreasing and there are no more incentives for investments nor money left for promoting the islands as a tourism destination by the private sector and no more money for maintaining properties and businesses. I’m surprised: good and true report Mr. Stolte, eventually even a Dutchman working for the government get it right. The SBA is saying the same things for a very long time but we are just some islanders and they need a report by their own to believe the facts. Hello, get out of your bubble there in the Netherlands. Let’s hope they will read the report too in Holland and do something about it before it’s getting worse. It’s time to stop this insane intention to implement a “property tax” and collect it retroactively, while the money collected due to taxes is already more then intended and agreed on. This will cripple our economy even more and drive prices up again. When will they wake up in The Hague? Maybe by reading the report of one of their own?
“Retroactive” property tax? Really? WTF?? Did I just wake up in 1917, in Red Square, Moscow?? Last I remember, the Iron Curtain had fallen in the 80’s! “No Taxation Without Representation!” — an old addage from the Founders of the American Constitution. Yes; the sounds of discontent and discord are begining to sound bouldly and loudly through the air. I say; “REVOLUTION FOR INDEPENDENCE!!” Everyone is thinking it, but no one has said it. “Easier said than done” — Well, The Hague embarasses itself by moving to initiate a truely degrading and demeaning amendment to the constitution specifically regarding the inhabitants of the islands; shame, shame on them! What a blatent disregard for the citizen’s respect (a Dutchman in Amsterdam is worth more than a Dutchman in Windwardside?) Is it the money or simple prejudice? (question)– Does the Dutch gvt pay an Amsterdam retiree in US Dollars or in Euros? Yet the Dutch gvt pays the Saba retiree in US Dollars. Saba has been promoted by the Dutch to use US dollars, Sabans already “all speak” English, and all Sabans lament these asinine Dutch “laws” — Saba surely seems more Americanized by far than Dutch, in my opinion — so maybe it wouldn’t be so hard to obtain independence from the Dutch gvt; I sence the Hague would rather these islands just float away and be out of their hair for good. “Saba lacks the spending potential” — REALLY? ACCORDING TO WHOM?? That is pure Socialism at it’s best definition. Socialism, even a Socialistic Monarchy, is still Socialism … ! And legal because the Dutch gvt is (proudly) a Socialistic Monarchy. So THAT is justification for not paying the Windwarside retiree the same as the Amsterdam retiree? That is such BS! Shamfull! — no matter how they wish to try to slice it. Well, thats just Socialism for you, plain and simple. Democracy is evident on Saba but the official Dutch Government is a Socialistic Monarchy. Still SOCIALISM, but only with a (golden and jewel-encrusted) crown. These laws are asinine because they are being created by a socialistic government which, by definition, DOES NOT have to be fair. At all. So … out them.
OLD SAYINGS RING TRUE:
“Our properties within our own territories [should not] be taxed or regulated by any power on earth but our own.” — Thomas Jefferson.
“History affords us many instances of the ruin of states by the prosecution of measures ill suited to the temper and genius of their people. The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy… These measures never fail to create great and violent jealousies and animosities between the people favored and the people oppressed; whence a total separation of affections, interests, political obligations, and all manner of connections, by which the whole state is weakened.”
Whoa — and WOW!! — Note to The Hague; “read the above paragraph again.” — Pompous idiotic fools can’t govern their way out of a wet paper bag. Such rediculous and antiquated laws that do not even fit for Saba — and in this day and age. They can’t do better? Out them.
Big words. I estimate that the money flowing from Saba to the Hague equals to about 10% of the funds that are flowing from Europe to Saba. It is nice to use big words, but stay realistic. Without them Saba would be bankrupt in no time. We cannot all live from the tuition of the students and a few heinekens that the tourists buy.
tru nuff. wat to do..
Stick to the points here. The Dutch government is certainly not a socialist government, as much as Obama’s government isn’t a socialist government. Don’t know where people get this from. Even as an employer and entrepreneur I’m personally not against a “social and democratic” government and rules that help people in need and support the weak in society. To do this is just common sense in the moderen world. We can see what “capitalism” alone can create and that doesn’t work neither for the majority of people. Nevertheless this discussion should be about the report of Mr. Stolte and what we can learn from it and how to use the information to improve our situation. To make it a “I hate socialist” campaign seems wrong to me and is twisting the facts in the first place. Lets stay focused here: we pay to much taxes and the Dutch government has to acknowledge this, so we can start to reduce the high cost of living and improve the investment climate on our island.