Windward Islands People’s Movement (WIPM) Chairman of the Central Committee Rolando Wilson released official responses to several questions received via the Executive Council, writes The Daily Herald.
Interim Manager of the Government Building Agency Fleur Lagcher answered in a letter dated August 12, questions about when new plans for the school in St. John’s would be completed. The execution of the construction plans for the new schools are based on the Saba Building Programme 2012-2016. The new day care and kindergarten is planned for completion in October 2014. The renovation of Sacred Heart School is to be completed by July 2015, simultaneously with the renovation of the Granger Auditorium. The renovation of Saba Comprehensive School is to be completed by April 1016. The local government and the Ministry of Education have assigned the Government Building Agency with overseeing projects on Saba, Bonaire and St. Eustatius. It was admitted that there was a six-month delay in the design process for the new day care and kindergarten building, but this does not necessarily imply proportional delays in finalising the project, it was said. The delay, caused by a shortage in managerial manpower within the implementing agency, is to be addressed within a month, it was stated.
Government Service Caribbean Netherlands RCN Acting Director Arno van Dongen responded in a letter, dated August 6, to the question why RCN did not make use of Windward Islands Airways International WINAIR, when travelling to Saba and Statia from St. Maarten and if RCN owned a plane. “RCN always makes use of the regular flight connections from WINAIR when travelling to Saba and Statia from St. Maarten. Very rarely or even in exceptional cases we make use of a boat connection. RCN does not have its own plane. For medical transportation, if necessary, we make use of a charter to transport the patients from Saba and Statia to St. Maarten,” Van Dongen responded.
The Executive Council had asked Angel Bermudez from Caribbean Netherlands Tax Department on Bonaire to respond to Wilson’s inquiry into why only the church building is exempted from real estate tax (Vastgoedbelasting) and not the rectory. Bermudez responded that “only real estate used for masses are exempted,” but also that “dwellings in ownership are also exempted.”
Councilman Wilson also asked why a Saban living out of the Caribbean Netherlands islands (residents on other islands) must pay tax on vacant property. Bermudez responds that only residents of Bonaire, Saba and Statia may be exempted for vacant properties.
The Central Committee also required a formal response to the question if a foreigner or Saban living abroad, having a vacant property on Saba, would still have to pay the tax if the property is cultivated. “The exploitation of cultured land should be on a commercial basis to be exempted,” Bermudez wrote, adding that “generally speaking, real estate property being an asset of a selfemployed entrepreneur is exempted, as his income is subjected to income tax.”