Wednesday , February 28 2024

Cost for travel and accommodation for civil servants from Holland amounts to $65,000 per person

The extra costs for travel and accommodation for officials who travel from Holland to the Caribbean part of the Kingdom takes an average of over $65,000 per person. This is concluded by Jamila Baaziz from research  by the Caribbean Network  weblog,  based on official  information requested about short and longer trips to the Caribbean part of the Kingdom from all Dutch ministries.

In 2012 and the first half of 2013 the  Dutch government spent more than $ 5 million on this type of travel and accommodation for missions lasting longer periods of time. A total of 81 Dutch officials stayed for  more than six months in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. Salary costs are not included in these figures.  It is only a reimbursement of travel,  accommodation costs and additional fees, e.g., for car rental. Bonaire gets the most of the such visits:  25 in total.

Among the officials sent is quite a number of employees who are employed by public prosecutors and the judiciary ( 17 ) on the islands and the Criminal Investigation Team ( 25 ) . In reality, the costs are probably much higher,  because in this study only looked at mission programs that started in 2012 and / or the first half of 2013.

The costs of these missions are in addition to the budget of hundreds of millions euros that the Dutch government is spending to maintain the kingdom relationships and funds for the Caribbean Netherlands.

Short missions

In addition to these longer-term  missions, a few hundred shorter missions to the Caribbean were performed. These costs amount to more than $1.3 million for eight of the 11 ministries in the one and a half year time span.  The exact amount cannot  be calculated precisely, because, e.g.; the ministry of Security and Justice does not record the destination in their financial system.  In eighteen months, 47 persons from this ministry traveled  to the Caribbean. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs can also not produce exact figures in all cases.

Most officials visit more than one island during their mission.  Bonaire and Curaçao are by far the most visited.

Caribbean Netherlands

In 2012 and the first half of 2013 ( 1.5 years ) the Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations  alone send 45 officials to one or more of the islands of the Caribbean Netherlands.  So on average, 30 officials travel each year from this Ministry to the Caribbean.

The number of missions to the Caribbean part of the Kingdom has decreased over the last year and a half compared to the previous three years . This reduction was already announced in 2012 by the then Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations ( BZK ) , Liesbeth Spies , in response to parliamentary questions based on a study into all missions to the Caribbean between 2009 and late 2011 by the TV station RTL

Stricter rules

However, since July 1, 2013, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations has further tightened the rules for missions to the Caribbean. There is a new system in which all Dutch officials are required to report their travel to the Caribbean to this ministry.  There are also restrictions on the size of the delegations and the mode of travel.  However, still each individual ministry is and remains responsible for deciding whether or not to send officials the Caribbean.

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