On Thursday, Members of the Second Chamber Committee for Kingdom Relations have opened the attack on the bureaucratic way in which the Central Government deals with Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba in strikingly firm terms, This was done during a general consultation of the Commission with the secretaries of state Raymond Knops of Kingdom Relations, Tamara van Ark of Social Affairs and Employment and Mona Keijzer of economic affairs and climate.
André Bosman (VVD) is of the opinion that The Hague treats the islands too much from a European perspective: ,, The approach is too technical considering and too many legal aspects. There is insufficient room for an human approach, ” he concluded.
Ronald van Raak (SP):,, cooperation is inefficient due to complicated rules and the stubbornness of the civil service at the ministries that are increasingly interfering with the islands without achieving visibly better results. ” As far as he is concerned, the RCN (‘ A terrible cost and complication ‘) should be closed and, instead of 10 ministries, only one administrative person should be responsible for the relations with the administrations in the Caribbean Netherlands. Other Committee members also advocated fewer rules and less fragmentation and strengthening of the coordinating role of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom relations.
Although Knops is of the opinion that coordination is already improving, the debate exposed that there are still a significant number of issues. He could not or did not want to answer many of the questions of the Commission because they affected the portfolios of other ministers. Knops indicated that he awaits the Council of State’s advice later this year for improving the cooperation between the Central Government and the public entities. The coordinating role of BZK will be part of this, but also the position of RCN.
Saba has been without a dentist for years and therefore the Sabans have to go to St. Maarten for dental care. Only the return flight already costs over 200 USD! A dentist on St. Maarten is prepared to regularly attend an office on Saba and wants to use the available treatment area. However, the Ministry of Public Health does not allow this. The dental treatment facilities on Saba are the property of the Central Government and, as a consequence, may not be used by a private dentist. ,, Insane “, said van Raak, expressing the feelings of the Commission.
Antje Diertens (D66), Nevin Özütok (GreenLeft), Attje Kuiken (PvdA) and Joba van den Berg (CDA) emphasized in their speeches the need to reduce the cost of living. They reflected the high rates of energy and food prices. They also requested a reduction in Internet and banking charges. Van Raak requested: facilitate that residents of the Caribbean Netherlands get access to internet banking from Dutch banks.
I agree with these guys. The frustration in dealing with Government to get permits to bring workers from other islands is insane! We have been waiting 6 months now on work permits for laborers and semi skilled workers. In the Netherlands of course you can go to the other town or city and find the workers you need. On Saba forget it there is nobody to find in the other “towns and cities”. So you have to go to other islands but of course you cannot just bring workers to Saba like that. The vetting process takes so long you would think you are trying to bring in members of ISIS.
We are far behind on projects and risk getting fines for not completing the jobs on time but of course this does not interest the Government. Maybe instead of sending all these civil servants to put up road blocks for the private sector on Saba the Dutch Government should send us some good hardworking Dutch laborers 🙂
I want to agree with Mr. Vernon Hassell fully that the time that it takes is way to long to get people registered that can come in to work. I can agree that the process should be well outlined and the period has to be shorten as it is very detrimental to any business place or person and it holds up the development of the island. I must say that for sure I am against this whole process being transferred fully to the Executive Council because I can foresee political favoritism being played. There has to be some form of control by a higher body. The office on Bonaire ahs to be reminded that for certain positions we do not have people sitting on a wall or under a tree waiting to get employed. The whole IND issue needs to be handled from Saba and not from Bonaire. When Saba opted to become part of Holland it was meant for direct ties (Saba-Holland-Saba) not ties that has to go through a third party. I differ though with Mr. Hassell when he says that the Dutch Government should send us some good hard working Dutch laborers. Let us keep it regionally and bring in our brothers and sisters from the Caribbean region, they has proven themselves here on Saba with the beautiful buildings that they has built.