The Daily Herald writes that travelling expenses of the Dutch Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK are expected to be lower this year due to the stricter guidelines that were implemented per July 1, 2013. Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk stated this in a letter that he sent to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament late last week. In the period January-June 2013, BZK spent 147,829 euros on trips to the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. This included the travelling cost of the Minister and his delegation. The expenditures of BZK have been declining after 2010. In 2011, the expenditures stood at 634,600 euros and in 2012 the figure was 309,361 euros. The high cost in 2009 and 2010 respectively 645,940 euros and 866,472 euros, were related to the constitutional process to dismantle the country the Netherlands Antilles and to set up the countries Curaçao and St. Maarten along with the Dutch public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.
Plasterk explained that his ministry implemented a new guideline regarding business trips to the Dutch Caribbean. BZK civil servants have to report their trips at the Ministry’s Secretary General. According to Plasterk, these stricter guidelines will result in a further dwindling of the travelling expenditures. The Minister clarified that his colleagues in the Council of Ministers have to inform his Ministry about their travelling plans before departure. A maximum of two Ministers may travel to Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten, and a maximum of four Ministers to the three public entities. Exempted from that rule which was defined by the Council of Ministers, are the Ministers of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations, Defence and Foreign Affairs because of their special responsibilities for the Dutch Caribbean. The Minister of Safety and Justice is exempted where it concerns the regular consultation with the other Ministers of Justice of the Kingdom.
Travels of civil servants of great importance have to be reported at the Secretary General of BZK so a briefing and debriefing can take place. Plasterk stated that the Dutch Government has called on all ministries to restrict travels where possible. According to Plasterk, Dutch civil servants are certainly not careless in travelling on the boss’ expenses. But, travelling remains necessary because the Netherlands carries a “certain responsibility” in the Dutch Caribbean which makes it necessary for civil servants to be on the islands “to perform their job well.”