The budget of Dutch National Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen to carry out his work in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba will not be structurally increased for now.
Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk stated in a letter which he sent to the Ombudsman on Tuesday, that for now Van Zutphen would have to make do with the one-time budget increase for 2016.
Plasterk stated that he considered it “sensible” to fi rst evaluate the work of the Ombudsman in the Caribbean Netherlands over 2016, with the one-time increased budget before submitting a proposal to the Dutch Government for a structural budget increase.
Van Zutphen sounded the alarm bell late September this year that the 2015 and 2016 allocations of the Dutch Government, amounting to 250,000 euros per year, were insuffi – cient for the Ombudsman to carry out all tasks in the Caribbean Netherlands.
As such, the Ombudsman decided to cancel last month’s working visit to Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. He sent a protest letter to Plasterk late September, in which he informed the Minister that he was cancelling his visit to the islands in order to remain within his budget.
“We have a task, but the fi nances are lacking,” said Van Zutphen, who very much lamented that he had to take that decision. As a result, island residents were unable to share their grievances about government with the Ombudsman. Van Zutphen’s next working visit, scheduled for March 2016, will proceed.
The Ombudsman has calculated that he needed 350,000 to 400,000 euros on an annual basis to properly carry out its tasks on the islands. Minister Plasterk has sent the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament a copy of his letter to Van Zutphen.
The Daily Herald.