Hazel Durand writes the following on Caribisch Netwerk:
On March 18, 1,056 eligible voters decide which political party Saba will lead during the next four years. The forthcoming elections attract much attention because there are many new faces on the lists of candidates. The new candidates are clear about their motivation and mission. Their pillars are development, entrepreneurship, youth and education, taxes and cost of living, which should lead to a self-sustainable Saba.
Stanley Peterson (40), number two on the list of the Saba Labour Party (SLP), is of the opinion that Saba should have its own kadaster register. Today, the kadaster register of St. Maarten measures land on Saba and keeps the records. This leads to high costs.
“It is important that landowners have their paperwork in order,” agrees Sundiata Lake (38) number eight on the Windward Island People’s Movement Party (WIPM). Seventy percent of the territory on Saba is not registered. “The Netherlands can never implement the land tax in a proper way. It is not just that thirty percent of the population has to pay land tax, while the other seventy percent pays nothing, “said Peterson.
Lake believes that it is in the interest of Saba to create a balance for taxes . “Communication among the island government, the community and the Netherlands is required to achieve a better understanding of the situation on the island,” said Lake.
Peterson is of the opinion that the Netherlands should not stop the exemption of the General Spending Tax (ABB). At the end of 2015 the exemption from ABB on Saba and St. Eustatius stops. “The Netherlands should give us the opportunity to develop ourselves, so they can see that we are able to generate our own income,” says Peterson.
Moreover, Peterson believes that a notary should be available locally on the island. He also sayd that improving the infrastructure, attracting foreign investors and building larger hotels is needed to stimulate the economy and create jobs.
“I encourage development, but it must be carefully managed and we must choose the right investors who aim for the best for the island. If someone builds a big hotel, one should also look at the impact on existing smaller hotels. The marketing effort could focus largely on the big hotel possibly leading to neglecting the smaller ones, “says Lake.
According to Vito Charles (35), the number six candidate of the WIPM party, the youth finds it difficult to start a business. “We need to establish an institution where young people can obtain a small loan with a low interest rate. Every young entrepreneur should be helped to navigate the complex financial system and bureaucracy,” said Charles.
Moreover Lake wants to establish a career and skills center. “I want to give support to young professionals by guiding them through the recruitment process,” he says.
Monique Wilson (31), the number six on the list SLP, is of the opinion that it also is important, hat “The island government ensures that our youth feels supported academically, emotionally, physically and psychologically. Students should be better guided in what to study in order to be able to better contribute to the island, “says Wilson.
According to Peterson, the cost of the social housing too high. “This could be a result of expensive constructions. Instead of social housing projects, I suggest, that the island government offers help to young families to build their own home. For instance, this could be achieved by providing a guarantee for a loan at the bank. ”
“With the average salary on Saba it is not possible to obtain a loan at the bank. Saba is now controlled by the banking rules of the European Monetary Cooperation Fund . Consequently, young people can only qualify for a mortgage, that costs them a maximum of 25 percent of their gross salary. On Saba is the average salary is between 1000 and 1500 dollars per month, so you get almost nothing. ”