The Daily Herald writes that expenditures of the Dutch ministries for the Caribbean Netherlands increased in 2013. In total the ministries spent some 227.4 million euros on the islands, in the form of extraordinary remittances (“bijzondere uitkeringen”), an increase compared to the 187.5 million euros that was spent in 2012. This is stated in the 2013 annual report of the socalled BES Fund – the
fund for the Caribbean Netherlands – that Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk sent to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Wednesday.
The balance of the BES Fund in 2013 was 35.6 million euros. The free remittance (“vrije uitkering”) for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, 34.4 million euros in 2013, is paid from this fund. For the first time, the Dutch Government provided an overview of the Caribbean Netherlands expenditures of the ministries, as an appendix to the annual report of the BES Fund.
Member of the Second Chamber Wassila Hachchi of the Democratic Party D66 had asked for this overview. Her motion to arrange this was adopted last year. The Ministry of Safety and Justice spent 18.1 million euros in 2013, to cover the cost of the Caribbean Netherlands Police Force and the Fire Department on the islands. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science spent more than 25 million euros alone on primary and secondary education in the Caribbean Netherlands. The Ministry of Finance spent 21.4 million euros for the Caribbean Netherlands Tax Office in 2013, of which a large part was spent on ICT investments. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs paid more than 29 million euros in social benefits in 2013, the allowance for the elderly AOV covering the largest chunk of 15.5 million euros. The Ministry of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sports made the largest expenditures on behalf of the Caribbean Netherlands in 2013: some 93 million euros, of which 88 million euros were to cover the increasing healthcare costs on the islands.
The Dutch General Audit Chamber made mention of the overview of the ministries expenditures in its report on the BES Fund 2013. The Audit Chamber concluded that all revenues and expenditures of the 2013 annual report of the BES Fund were lawful and correct.