Governments of St. Eustatius and Saba fail in holding off higher Makana fares

The site Bes-Reporter writes that, despite optimistic and comforting words over the past weeks, the governments of St. Eustatius and Saba have failed to reach a timely agreement with Makana Operator Blues & Blues and avoid the implementation of higher, unsubsidized fares.

Makana had previously announced the increase on May 15, 2024, but held off on the actual implementation of the new fares, pending the outcome of negotiations with the two smallest BES-island.

Previously, the Government of Saba stated that they were keen to finalize negotiations, to keep the fares relatively low. The Government of Saba did not respond to questions from ABC Online Media about the reason for the holdup, but put out a rather vague statement, saying that ‘some negotiations last longer than other negotiations’. Informal information obtained by The BES-Reporter suggests that the contracts are held up on the desk of Commissioner Arlene Spanner, who has not given the matter sufficient priority.


It is still unclear what exactly the bottlenecks are to signing the new Public Service Obligation (PSO), for which the Dutch Government has already made additional subsidies available for the next two years. In the meantime, it seems that Makana management had enough of the dragged-out negotiations with especially the Statia Government and announced on Friday the implementation of the newer higher fares on June 1, 2024.

The Governments of St. Eustatius and Saba have not put out any statement regarding the status of the negotiations, or the hurdles which still have to be taken to sign a new agreement, ensuring the continuation of the lower, subsidized fares.


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