Wednesday , February 28 2024

Hachchi seeks help for harbour

Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Wassila Hachchi of the Democratic Party D66 wants the Dutch Government to find a sustainable solution for Saba’s harbour. Hachchi presented a motion during Monday’s debate with Minister of Infrastructure and Environment Melanie Schultz van Haegen. One of the agenda points was the potable water study in Saba (see related story).
Hachchi made use of the opportunity to submit a motion in which she called on the Dutch Government to meet with Saba’s Government to “find a sustainable solution for the financing of the maintenance of Saba’s harbour.” The Member of Parliament (MP) remarked that the harbour is of “great importance” for the local population and the island’s economy. There is a backlog in maintenance and the harbour is in bad shape, said Hachchi. Annually some 300,000 euros are needed to maintain the facility, but Saba doesn’t have the means to do so, explained Hachchi. “This further worsens the situation and in the meantime Saba has a backlog in maintenance of some 3 million euros,” she said.
The Minister advised against Hachchi’s motion. She said that Saba’s harbour was not a responsibility of the Dutch Government, but of the local administration. “I am not going to entertain talks about financing because that would create expectations. The local government will turn to me for funding. I would be stepping with one leg in the financing,” she said.
Hachchi tried to convince the Minister that the Dutch Government is responsible for Saba because it is a Dutch public entity and part of the Netherlands. She pointed out that the assistance didn’t necessarily have to be through funding but that there was also the element of expertise and know-how to be considered.
Schultz van Haegen maintained that the harbour was a local responsibility and that her Ministry already advised Saba on water and infrastructural policy matters.
The Second Chamber will be voting on Hachchi’s motion in a later meeting.

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One comment

  1. Now I am really confused when reading this and about maintenance. When it is convenient for these Dutch Ministers etc they push the responsiiblity on the local government. One will never understand this whole new status and the players.