Island Councils and Executive Councils Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba to join consultation round legislative amendment WolBES and FinBES

The laws that regulate the administrative and financial relations between the Netherlands and Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba will be amended. From Monday 4th until Wednesday 6th of March, a three-day working conference will therefore take place on the amendment of the BES Public Entities Act and the BES Public Entities Finance Act (WolBES and FinBES). The working conference is an extra step in the consultation process and concludes the consultation period. Participants are the island council members and the executive councils of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba and State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen of Kingdom Relations and Digitalization.

Completion of the consultation process

The legislative amendment of the WolBES and the FinBES is necessary to improve the administrative and financial relations between the public entities and the European Netherlands. The aim of the working conference is to conclude the consultation on the bill. The conference is an extra step within the consultation. It has been organized at the request of the islands and the agenda has been prepared jointly. During the conference, several substantive points from the bill will be discussed. In addition, a number of themes that fall outside the scope of the bill will be discussed. The cooperation and working methods between the central government and Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba are also on the agenda of the working conference.

Investing in trust

The WolBES and FinBES came into effect in 2010. The WolBES explains how the public entities are organized. The FinBES sets out how the financial relationships and financial supervision are arranged. The laws are being amended in response to a 2019 recommendation from the Council of State. The revision of the law is based on the principle of mutual trust. In recent years, a great deal of knowledge and experience has been gained about how these laws work in practice. There is more insight into what is going well and where there is room for improvement. The proposed legislative changes will further invest in mutual trust and more extensive local autonomy.

Main changes to WolBES and FinBES

In order to increase local autonomy, different forms of supervision of finances and the budget will be introduced. If the public entity does not have the budget or financial management in order, financial supervision is strengthened. If a public entity performs properly, there is light supervision. To strengthen local democracy, the number of island councilors and commissioners will be increased and they will receive more support. In addition, the position of the Government Representative is being discontinued. Some of the tasks will go to the Island Governor. It is also intended to make administrative supervision of the execution of island tasks simpler and more flexible. The legislative changes contribute to a better functioning and more effective government and less bureaucracy in the interest of the inhabitants of the three islands.

The proposed amendments to the law has been discussed on several occasions with the public entities of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. In addition, advice was sought from various stakeholders, including the Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland, the acting Kingdom Representative, the Board of Financial Supervision Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba and the various ministries. Residents were also able to give their opinion on the proposed change in the law via an internet consultation.


Island Council and Executive Council attending WolBES & FinBES conference in the Netherlands
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One comment

  1. Dave Levenstone

    The big question would be based on transperency to say how many residents on Saba made use of the internet consultation and how many were native Sabans?
    Sad part is that the representatives of the people of Saba did not find it fitting to come to the community and explain and hear the position and standpoint of the community.

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