18 million more for the execution of tasks on Bonaire, Saba and St Eustatius

From 2024 onwards, the central government will allocate €8.6 million annually to improve the ability of Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius to properly carry out their tasks as public entities. This is stated in the Spring Memorandum 2024 that has been sent to the Senate and the Second Chamber. In doing so, the government is following the advice of both the study ‘Island tasks and resources in the Caribbean Netherlands’ by IdeeVersa and the report by the Council for Public Administration (ROB) to increase the free allowance. The free allowance is the fixed amount that the islands receive annually for, among other things, management of public space, supervision and enforcement, and welfare.

State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen

In addition to the increase in the free allowance, the government will make an additional €5 million available annually from 2024 onwards. With this extra money, the three public entities, in their role as employers, can absorb the consequences of the increase in the Statutory Minimum Wage (WML). In addition, this will enable the public entities to better align the terms of employment of their employees with those of the Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland (RCN). This will improve their position as employers and create more financial scope for the implementation of major tasks in both the social and physical domains.


Taking growth into account

As of 2024, following the example of the municipal fund, the so-called GDP system will also come into force for Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius. From 2024, this will make another €4.5 million available for the three islands. There will be a slight increase in this for the following financial years. Gross Domestic Product is an indicator of economic growth. The difference with the current system is that, in addition to compensation to absorb wage and price increases, the public entities, just like municipalities in the Netherlands, will also be given more room to make their own policy choices.  It will also be easier for them to draw up a multi-annual budget.

State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen of Kingdom Relations and Digitalization: “I am very pleased with this important financial step that the outgoing cabinet is taking for Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius. With this total of 18 million euros that will be made available annually, the islands will receive structural resources for structural tasks. This allows them to make and implement future-proof plans for the long term. This is also in line with the agreements I made with the three islands during the administrative WolBES and FinBES conference. Namely, that they are enabled to carry out their tasks properly and as independently as possible. It is very important that they have enough people structurally to do this and with as little bureaucratic burden and regulatory burden as possible. In the coming period, I will continue to talk to administrators of the three islands and the ministries in The Hague to further strengthen the financial relationship with the islands and to increase the implementation power on the islands.”

More tasks, more execution power

The tasks of the public entities largely correspond to those of European municipalities in the Netherlands. However, the public sector bodies are also responsible for e.g. waste water management and the water treatment plants. These are tasks that are carried out in the Netherlands by water boards and the provinces. Given the importance of this infrastructure for the livelihood, nature and environmental management, climate mitigation and adaptation and connectivity of the islands, the public entities, together with the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK), will investigate which investments are needed for maintenance and replacement of the vital infrastructure on the islands. With the extra money that is now being set aside in the 2024 Spring Memorandum, there will be more financial room to attract additional staff. Strengthening the implementation power is desperately needed, because the islands are facing major challenges, as laid down in the administrative agreements, among other things.


Minister for Poverty Policy, Participation and Pensions Carola Schouten will visit to Saba on April 22-24
Youth Art Mural Project has commenced at Well's Bay Road.

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