The Daily Herald writes that the Dutch Government will not make additional funds available for the development plans of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, but will look into the prioritizing of funds that it has already reserved for the islands. The Dutch Government doesn’t have the financial room to make additional funds available for the development plans that have been drafted by the public entities, stated Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk in a letter that he sent to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Wednesday.
The governments of the Netherlands and the public entities agree that the development plans are a solid basis for the further development of the islands. The total cost of the plans amounts to some US $300 million. It is the responsibility of the island governments to set the right priorities within their available budget. The Dutch ministries have helped with investment in, among others, utility facilities, school buildings, social housing, combating of poverty, and airports, but government doesn’t have any additional funds to execute the development plans, stated Plasterk. According to the minister the amounts that The Hague has spent on the Caribbean Netherlands since the three islands became part of the Dutch Constellation have “greatly increased.” “That is why it has been agreed with the public entities to check whether the prioritizing within the already available means for the Caribbean Netherlands can be strengthened.” The upcoming evaluations will play a role in this process. The Dutch Government and the public entities will again discuss this matter during the next so-called Caribbean Netherlands Week in The Hague in June, after which it can be determined which projects will be executed, and how and when this will take place.
The minister provided the explanation to Parliament in response to a series of questions that members of the Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations submitted following their visit to the Dutch Caribbean in January this year. The Committee members had asked about the status of the development plans that had been submitted to the Dutch Government, the total amount of investments that was involved, how much money was available and which projects would be executed in 2014/2015.