Sunday , October 1 2023

Continued improvements for Caribbean Neths. residents

While meaningful steps have been taken in the past year to im­prove the situation for resi­dents of Bonaire, St. Eusta­tius and Saba, it remains an important exercise to make sure that everyone can sus­tain themselves in the mini­mum cost of living.

“This especially counts during this exceptional pe­riod which has large conse­quences for the islands with the loss of income from tourism,” wrote Dutch State Secretary of Social Affairs and Labour Tamara van Ark in a progress report about the Dutch Caribbean that she sent to Parliament this week.

To emphasise the input of the Dutch government for the Caribbean Nether­lands, a benchmark for the social minimum was estab­lished a year ago. The ob­jective was to increase the people’s income and to re­duce the cost of living to a reasonable level.

In this line, the legal mini­mum wage, the social allow­ances and the family allow­ance were again increased in the Caribbean Nether­lands per January 1, 2020. The amount of the family allowance in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba is now double what it was in 2018.

As of 2020, the Dutch government is structurally making 9.8 million euros available for improvement of childcare quality and ac­cessibility. This amount will further increase to more than 14 million euros for the three islands in 2021.

With this funding, the temporary subsidy arrange­ment for childcare can be expanded in the Caribbean Netherlands. This arrange­ment, which went into ef­fect on July 1, is meant to reduce the cost of childcare for parents and to enable childcare organisations to invest in the quality of the care they offer.

Aside from expanding the temporary subsidy ar­rangement, the funds are also destined for training, improving labour condi­tions and investing in the housing of childcare facilities. The allocation will be arranged within the BES(t) 4 kids programme.

“Residents of the Caribbe­an Netherlands should be able to count on a secured livelihood. I am glad that as state secretary I was able to contribute to this in the past years. I am confident that the positive approach that the government to­gether with the public en­tities started will continue. This is very necessary to further enhance the resi­dents’ situation,” stated Van Ark, who will shortly become Minister of Medi­cal Care and Sports.

Van Ark promised that in the coming years the gov­ernment, with the public entities and the Central Dialogues in which the public entities and the so­cial partners work together, will keep working on mak­ing things better for the is­lands’ residents.

Research is currently taking place to further in­crease the minimum wage, taking into account the lo­cal economy and the labour market. The government is also looking at ways to structurally reduce the cost of energy, telecom and drinking water.

The Daily Herald.

Medical referrals remain complex, says Blokhuis
First investment of PCN in Saba: aquisition of Breadline Plaza in Windwarside