The Daily Herald writes that Friday, the Saba Labour Party (SLP) announced its programme and list of candidates to the public at Topo Gigio’s bar and restaurant in the Bottom. The event started with the introduction of the board members, Joseph Louimaire, Kenneth Hassell, Pamela Meijvogel, Damaris Barnes, Eddie Peterson, Al Levenstone and Chris Meijvogel.
The SLP candidates introduced themselves individually to the attendants. The candidates are Ishmael Levenstone, Enrico “Cuchi” Klaber, Stanley Peterson, Augustino Cirilio Martin, Monique Wilson, Shemiqua Blackman, Janet Wilson, Ulric “Steve” Hassell and Thaddeus Nicholson. Each candidate gave a small speech after which they mingled with the crowd and talked individually with the people. The release party started at 7:00pm and officially ended at 9:00pm, but the great number of attendants stayed until late in the evening.
The Daily Herald spoke with Stanley Peterson. It’s his first time running for election and he was very pleased with the turnout. “I honestly didn’t expect so many people to turn up”
Peterson said. “This shows that many people are interested in change, change that the current governing party is reluctant to give to the people of Saba”.
The SLP has stated in its programme that a regular statement used by the present government is, “That’s a Kingdom law; we cannot do anything about it.” The SLP thinks differently about this. “We want to promote transparency within the government, because there is very little transparency at the moment” Peterson remarked. “It’s needless to say that change is inevitable, we should embrace change, but many of the changes that occurred on Saba in the past 4 years have not been publicly addressed to the Saban community.”
One issue which Peterson mentioned is the fact that the Dutch government is no longer accepting handwritten agreements of property ownership. Peterson feels that an open dialogue with the Dutch government is the best way to go forward.
Many issues were addressed on Friday, issues like taxes, safety, education, tourism and the development of Saba. Peterson has great plans for tourism as he, amongst others, hopes to realize a five-star resort on location between St. Johns and Windwardside. “The Plantation Resort should accommodate a higher class of tourists on the island” Peterson said. Activities like zip lining, sports fishing and golf should be realised on Saba, so it can become a more complete holiday destination, he said.
Inevitably the SLP has many complaints on the 10-10-10 merger with the Netherlands. The problems addressed come down to the fact that Sabans should not accept to be treated as second-class citizens within the Dutch Kingdom. Peterson’s personal goals for the next four years as a politician will be focused on job creation for the younger generations. Many young Sabans, who study abroad, have no interest in coming back to Saba, simply because there are no jobs waiting for them. “I want to make more jobs available to these young and bright Sabans, so they can bring their newly acquired knowledge back home.” Peterson said.
Peterson concluded by saying, “Every man and woman should be able to address issues and concerns to politicians. We need an open-door policy on Saba and this is what the SLP stands for.”
Has the SLP stopped and thought if their “Plantation Resort” is really in the best interest of Sabans? “Heineken Presents Saba!” comes to mind. The “Plantation Resort” will turn Sabans into second class citizens on their own island, and turn Giles Quarter into a ghetto for rich foreigners. Who is this ultimately benefiting other than to line the pockets of a select few residents? What sorts of jobs would be created aside from a couple of more positions at restaurants? How happy is the waiter/waitress the new job going to be when he or she is making minimum wage ($5 now?) serving someone who clearly makes well over 6 or 7 figures annually? How would that person feel when their ancestors have been living on Saba for hundreds of years working hard just to get by, and end up working for a pittance for some wealthy foreigner with little to no interest in the island other than to buy property because they can? Rent will rise across Saba, making property taxes even more unaffordable for residents, to the point where Sabans may well be priced out of their own island. The island is small, and made even smaller since there are only certain parts that you can actually get to. Do Sabans want 80-100 houses’ worth of resort tourists crowding an island of just ~1,500 residents? Giles Quarter is one of the few open and accessible places left on the island. Are the numbers of tourists in Giles Quarter and the odd tourist golfer coming by boat or plane going to be enough to sustain a golf course? Where is the water going to come from to run the golf course? Wealthy foreigners aren’t going to want to use cisterns, and Giles Quarter is dry compared to the upper parts of Saba. That means a desalination plant at Giles Quarter, which I guarantee will only service the “Plantation Resort” since it would be very expensive to deliver water uphill to the rest of the island. What about the quality of anchorage at Giles Quarter? What happens to boats sheltered in that tiny harbor in when a large swell comes in?
This whole project seems poorly planned, with no foresight, and only seems to serve as a shortsighted pitch-point to help win an election.
Well we all know which family be benefitting when this land sold and they also be running blue. Having said that I also feels a shake up is needed as far to much arrogance on the orange side and SCS seems to be a topic they try to avoid sand sticks their head in the sand. What to do as which be the lesser evil for Saba?
Well good afternoon Mr SabanCharlie and Saffy,
Please allow me to clarify some points of interest when it comes to plantation resort.
The Plantation resort property otherwise know as cattle plantation is currently owned by 187 Saban Heirs and descendants, of which Norman Hassel’s family owns 9/16 and the Johnsons, Petersons and others account for the difference of 7/16.
The negotiated price with the 3 Development companies is $17.00 yes you read right, $17.00 per square meter.
Why $17.00 you ask?
The cattle plantation property is land locked, meaning the developers will have to locate, and negotiate the purchase of additional property belonging to even more Sabans to be able to have infrastructure put in place to access the land.
The other reason is that 30% of the cattle plantation property is in wash guts, meaning you can’t build or it is very expensive to build.
The land owners came to the agreement that it is better to sell the land at an affordable rate so that it could be developed and benefit Saba for generations to come.
Mr Saban Charlie unfortunately your vision is similar to WIPM’s vision, very poor.
let me explain how it will create JOBS.
1st, the construction industry will get much needed contracts to keep there employees busy for decades to come. All construction companies should benefit from building the infrastructure to the Hotel, to the Houses, the Marina and Golf course. As we vision sustainable development unlike the boom bust build now that wipm promotes.
As progress of the resort comes to fruition here are a list of future companies and jobs that Sabans can create.
1st-The Hotel, this will need, Managers, Desk clerks, office personal, grounds keepers and maintenance people. a diverse package of jobs will come available to those unemployed of which the Labor department will see fit that Sabans get the Jobs.
2nd-The Marina, The Marina will need managers, Dock attendants and maintenance people to start. once people have there boats here on Saba it creates other opportunities for people to Start businesses to repair and maintain these luxury vessels, more jobs and opportunities.
3rd-the golf course, this will also need managers, office personal, maintenance and grounds keepers. This will give opportunities to Sabans that have landscaping companies to hire more people.
4th-the houses/villas- 1st this will benefit the construction sector, if you can imagine building 5-10 houses a year for the next 15 years etc. Imagine how these construction businesses will feel to know they have the security of future jobs for decades to come.
once the houses are built they will also need property managers, Painters, grounds keepers, electricians, just to name a few of what jobs will be available.
5th-decel/water plant, yes development needs water, the current decal plants have to be shut down and restarted continuously because of limited storage space and consumption.
The current commissioner wants to pump good decel water to the leaking gray water cisterns by the dorms, bad idea-leaking gray water cisterns! why?
If a plant is placed within the property or surrounding the property then the water should be pumped up to a reservoir built somewhere in the vicinity of the St. Johns power plant building. From there the water can gravity feed the Bottom, St Johns and the School and for purchase, now your truck drivers don’t have to go to the harbor for water which should reduce the cost of water. More Jobs, more Saban opportunities.
the additional benefit is to create a water bottling plant to service Saban people, as to stop importing the thousands of plastic water bottles we currently import, making water more affordable and creating more jobs while reducing plastic waste.
are you starting to get the picture now?
I could go on and on on the benefits and job creation. I would love to have a personal conversation with you Mr Saban Charlie and saffy, I am a friendly guy and will talk straight talk to you and everyone. We have nothing to hide, no mysteries.
if you have vision then you can see what is really possible and who will benefit.
Any further questions please feel free to stop me and ask.
have a great day.
The water bottling plant is a good idea, and if desal is going in at Giles Quarter, then it needs to be available for the whole island or there will be big issues with inequality. The construction jobs will only benefit Sabans if local contractors are hired, which I hope would be the case.
There are a few things you didn’t mention though.
-It’s one thing to build a hotel to attract tourists, but another to building luxury houses will obviously attract wealthy people and speculation on the housing market. The price of housing across the island will shoot up as a result, and with property taxes based off of the appraised value of a house and its land, this whole project will slowly price Sabans off of their own island when people can’t afford the taxes, especially with the low salaries across the island. People will have no choice but to sell their houses. Saba will begin to get into a situation similar to St. Maarten, where ancestral St. Maarteners are the minority on their own island.
-How many people are realistically going to come to Saba to golf to make the course self-supporting? I can’t see this as anything but a flop.
-The marina will be exposed to swells, and the anchorage there is already bad.
-The jobs you described that will be created, outside of construction and management positions, will be mostly minimum wage. All this will do is give people options as to their 2nd or 3rd job they work to make ends meet.
-Do Sabans want a crowded island? The sense of Saba being small and not “busy” is one of the biggest draws for tourists. This project will change that and you’ll need a new tourism strategy.
Construction is usually done with companies making bids on the cost.
If our Saban companies bid higher than a non-Saban company, I do not see how it would be guaranteed that they will get the job.
From what I’ve heard in the past, was that the bottle water company would want to be set up in such a way as to have a monopoly on bottle water. No other producer locally and no one importing bottle water from else where. People do have the right to be able to choose what water they buy.
Things being produced locally can sometimes result in a more expensive output/product. This may not be seen as a benefit to our locals if they have to pay more money for a bottle of water.
Certain controls on hiring and job creation can be great in theory, but in actual practice be very different.
We have a limited labor force, and most Sabans already have jobs. Unemployment isn’t that high here. Underemployment perhaps….which would go back to Sabancharlie’s point of minimum wage and 2nd jobs.
Therefore, one can conclude that most jobs will be filled by non-locals.
Like I said, things can seem great and theory but in practice be very different. We can be sold a 6 for a 9, as the expression goes.
Mr. Peterson, saying that someone has a poor vision (similarly to WIPM’s) because their vision differs from your’s already illustrates your superiority complex. While you, and your party, vocalize ‘change,’ change can come in many different forms- good and bad. And if this is the way your regard others’ visions, than it doesn’t smell of a good change to me….
Just to address the concerns of sabancharlie, vastgodbelasting (property tax) is only paid for house/s you own but do not live in. Means the house you occupy with your family is not subject to property tax.
You know, orange, blue pink or red, I have friends on both sides of the upcoming election. If you should feel the need to comment, use your real name you Charlie. Stand in the street and show your face with strong belief, it’s Saba, the worst you’ll get is a good conversation.
And the rest of you behave, Saba does not need to beat up on itself, believe you me, there’s a bunch of ministers lining up to do so.