The Daily Herald writes that the multiannual programme for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba will be one of the highlights of the Caribbean Netherlands Week which starts in The Hague today, Monday. The multi-annual programme for the islands is important, said Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk on Saturday. Plasterk was an invited guest at the Pearls of the Dutch Caribbean Award Show and the preceding network event DC Connect in Rotterdam. “Decisions are often taken ad-hoc, but we also need to think long term. Where do we go on long term? That is something that we will discuss in the coming week,” said Plasterk. According to the minister it was important to not only measure the success of the Caribbean Netherlands Week in terms of an increase of the budget for the islands. “The expectations were high when the islands became Dutch public entities on October 10, 2010. People expected that when they opted for a public entity status that facilities would become the same as in the Netherlands. It is not possible to achieve that all at once. It is a matter of long term work,” Plasterk told The Daily Herald and the Amigoe newspaper in a short interview.
The multi-annual programme has been prepared and will be completed in consultation with the island representatives this week, said Plasterk. Issues like combating of poverty, a better infrastructure, children’s rights, economic and social development will be an integral part of the multi-annual programme. The minister said that many Dutch ministries were involved in the programme and that it covered many aspects. As coordinating minister, he would remain actively involved, though the individual ministers were responsible in their own area.
Statia Commissioner Carlyle Tearr, who was also present at the Pearls of the Dutch Caribbean event, said he didn’t have very high expectations of the Caribbean Netherlands Week. He said he hadn’t seen the multi-annual programme as yet. According to Tearr it was “high time” that the Netherlands committed to “something concrete.” He said the development plans on the islands had not been executed as yet and were still waiting for funding from The Hague. “The plans were put on hold during the Caribbean Netherlands Week last year. We want action, no more plans,” he said.