Caribbean islands are proven right after grumbling about bureaucracy in the Netherlands

The Caribbean islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba are not happy with the bureaucracy when they need money from the government for maintenance of seaports and airports, for example. The most important advisory body of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations agrees with them.

“At the moment, the government sees the BES islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba mainly as ordinary Dutch municipalities,” explains deputy secretary Gerber van Nijendaal on behalf of the Council for Public Administration (ROB) to “But an average Dutch municipality doesn’t have any extra tasks, such as maintaining an international airport.”

Because the money required for such additional tasks is not covered by the fixed budget of the BES islands, the special public entities must always submit separate applications for them. The result is viscous, lengthy procedures. As a result, the execution of the extra BES tasks may be delayed, says Van Nijendaal.

As it is now, it is “unnecessarily burdensome” for the BES islands, according to a letter from the ROB to outgoing State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen (Kingdom Relations). Moreover, according to the advisory body, it “prevents the administrations of the islands from pursuing a balanced financial policy”. That is why, according to the ROB, the financing of the BES islands needs to be overhauled.

As far as the advisory body is concerned, the three municipalities in the Caribbean Netherlands should be given a more fixed budget. It is only about an end to the administrative burden and not about more budget, Van Nijendaal emphasizes. “At the end of the day, there is no extra money.”


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