Saturday , December 2 2023

Saba Island Council has positive meeting with Second Chamber

Members of the Saba Island Council had a positive meeting with the Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Thurs­day.

Windward Islands People’s Movement (WIPM) Island Council members Eviton Heyliger, Vito Charles, Hemmie van Xanten, Carl Buncamper and Esmeralda Johnson were able to raise some of the issues that are important to Saba: the eradi­cation of poverty, the estab­lishing of a social minimum, the functioning of the Na­tional Government Service RCN and the Health Insur­ance Office ZVK on Bonaire. Buncamper explained that the delegation had focused on these four important top­ics because of the limited time of the meeting, about three quarters of an hour. The limited banking services in Saba and the Fort Bay har­bour project were also men­tioned.

Saba Island Council members Eviton Heyliger, Vito Charles, Hemmie van Xanten, Cad Buncamper and Esmeralda Johnson, Island Governor Jonathan Johnson, Commissioner Rolando Wilson and Island Council Registrar Akilah Levenstone with members of the Second Chamber after the meeting on Thursday.

“The process of establishing the social minimum is pro­gressing in a slow pace. The measures implemented by the Dutch government to al­leviate poverty somewhat are welcome. But we can’t say that we sleep without wor­ries on this vital issue,” Buncamper told the media after the closed-door meeting. He and the rest of the Saba delegation were positive about the committee mem­bers’ response. “This group supports us,” said Buncamp­er.

Also present in the meet­ing with the committee were Island Governor Jonathan Johnson, Commissioner Rolando Wilson and Island Council Registrar Akilah Levenstone.

Buncamper further pointed out that Saba was being hin­dered by the bureaucratic rules of the Dutch govern­ment and the RCN. “It is clear that we are able to manage our money and we are doing excellent in the area of financial manage­ment, so we believe that we should be granted the oppor­tunity to handle more of our own affairs,” he said.

Member of the Second Chamber André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party agreed with the Saba delegation’s remarks about too much bureaucracy being in place and granting Saba more autonomy to handle some of its own affairs.

Other Committee members present at the meeting were Chairman Jan Paternotte and Antje Diertens of the Democratic Party D66, Attje Kuiken of the Labour Party PvdA and Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP). The committee visited Saba in January this year.

After the meeting with the Saba delegation, the Com­mittee for Kingdom Rela­tions met with members of the Bonaire Island Council. That meeting was also posi­tive. “The compassion that the Committee shows is striking,” said Bonaire Island Council member Désirée Coffie of the MPB party. The Saba and Bonaire del­egations attended the annual congress of the Association of Dutch Municipalities VNG in Barneveld earlier this week. The Saba delega­tion also had a meeting with the Kingdom Council of State in The Hague.

The Daily Herald.

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