Opinion: Open letter to Mr. Plasterk:
Dear Mr. Plasterk,
Maybe you have not yet taken note of the latest move of the Saba Government to favor friends and family. In that case, please take note of the agreement that the government has signed with the goat owners on Saba. You find the government announcement on this site.
What is the case? Goats on Saba are nearly all owned by private individuals. From the agreement of the Government with the goat owners, it is clear that the owners are well aware who’s goat is who’s and where they roam.
The roaming of the goats has been an issue for many, many years. It is not only an issue that the goats ruin the natural resource of Saba, i.e., its beautiful nature, but also kick the rocks loose. This is a realistic danger to persons using the public road. Just count the rocks on the road that have fallen down during periods that it did not rain.
In addition, I noticed that the Saba Health Care Foundation mentioned in their report of 2013, that 60% of the population is living under the poverty line. However these people cannot grow vegetables in their gardens because the goats will eat them all. If you are already below the poverty line, how can you afford the installation of a fence?
In the past, the people of Saba have asked their government to forbid the free roaming of goats. A rule to that effect is in the APV that is currently in force. The goat owners are very well aware that they violate the laws that should protect the people. However the culprits can continue to disrespect the law because of vote buying by the local government. I was made aware that the credo on Saba is : “Each goat is a vote”. It was discussed at the Sea & Learn lecture last year.
So it is not a surprise that with the upcoming elections next March , all of a sudden a “Buy Back” program is launched by the sitting Government. There was a similar program a few years ago. At that time, it was very beneficial for the goat owners. As expected, in the follow up, the owners have done nothing to stop the roaming of their goats, so now a similar situation has developed. Also in the present agreement, the owners are not asked to stop the free roaming, but just to sell their surplus goats to the government. It is obvious for me, that we can expect a similar action in advance of the next elections. It will cost the tax payer a lot of money and the problem remains.
Dear Mr. Plasterk, you have given an instruction to St. Maarten because of assumed foul play. Please issue a similar instruction to this government. Given that the goat owners are well aware who’s goat is who’s, fine them instead of buying their goats at a high price. This is in line with the laws that we have all agreed to.
You enforce the laws that we and the Sabans have to pay tax. As obedient tax payers, we do not want to support any longer a government that makes illegal payments to culprits who do not obey the law. These persons hijack the Saban community and now demand money. Mr. Johnson, the Governor, is the head of the police and he knows them personally. He is not directly involved in the election, but, apparently, he does not move and, in contrast, seems to support the paying of kick backs to these culprits.
I hope , Mr. Plasterk, that you take the situation on Saba as serious as the situation on St. Maarten. The correct spending of our money is at stake! I object to sponsoring persons that break our laws.