Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops does not share the criticism of Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP) regarding the tendering for coffee and snack machines for St. Eustatius and Saba.
In reply to Van Raak’s written questions, Knops denied that it concerned an international tendering. In the tendering advertisement for both the machines and the (re)filling of these machines, it was specifically requested that local suppliers participate.
“There is no international tendering. The purchasing and tendering policy of the National Department Caribbean Netherlands RCN is to purchase locally as much as possible, especially in these crisis times,” stated Knops, adding that he had emphasised this in a letter to the public entities late April.
The tendering request for the coffee machines and snack vending machines for RCN personnel on the two islands was communicated in the three Windward Islands. Interested parties were specifically asked for the use of local parties.
“After a market consultation, RCN wanted to make sure that all local parries were involved in this. Aside from the four interested parties from the market consultation, two other parties responded to the advertisement. As such, RCN concluded that it had a complete view of local suppliers. The interested parties are from St. Maarten and St. Eustatius,” Knops stated.
He explained that also in the (re)filling of the machines, it was stipulated as a condition that local suppliers be used to provide the ingredients for the machines and to service the machines. “For example, supermarkets can fill the machines with goods that they sell locally.”
Responding to the written question by Van Raak as to why priority had been given to installing coffee and snack machines in St. Eustatius and Saba during the coronavirus crisis, Knops said the tendering was part of the regular processes for personnel. “The corona crisis didn’t limit this planned tendering.”
Knops also did not agree with Van Raak’s suggestion that installing coffee and snack machines appeared to be in stark contrast to the problematic situation in which entrepreneurs on the islands and the public entities are finding themselves during this crisis.
He clarified that the Caribbean Netherlands is receiving assistance from the Netherlands. The measures from the first emergency package, which included payroll support, have been extended, and some additional assistance measures have been added, such as the increase of the temporarily fixed-cost compensation up to a maximum of 50,000 euros and a small credits arrangement for small entrepreneurs.
The Dutch government has consideration for the public entities’ financial problems in connection with lower local (tax) revenues and increased expenditures due to the corona crisis. Talks are ongoing with the public entities on how to solve this. Plus, 1.3 million euros has been made available for emergency assistance to the most vulnerable in society. For Saba, this means an additional 226,000 euros, or US $298,592.
The Daily Herald.