Journalists take critical look at Dutch govt annual reports

Why are the in­comes lower in the Caribbean Netherlands and how can the coor­dination of policy be improved for the islands so the money that The Hague spends can be more effec­tive?

Regional journalists, including the correspondents of The Daily Herald and the Amigoe newspaper from Curacao, on Monday brain­stormed and drafted questions on the consequences of decisions by the Dutch government on a local level, including the Dutch public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.

Regional journalists were invited to the Dutch Second Chamber of Parliament to take a critical look at the annual reports of the Dutch government and to formulate questions which were presented in a plenary session. The Daily Herald and the Amigoe newspaper from Curacao were present.

Close to 100 regional journalists came to the Dutch Second Cham­ber of Parliament on the invitation of Parliament for the so-called V-100, a yearly event that is held shortly after the Dutch government presents its annual report, in­cluding the annual reports of the individual ministries, of the previous budgetary year on the third Wednesday in May. On the same Wednes­day, the investigation reports of the General Audit Cham­ber are published.

The V-100 participants were divided in eight groups who each delved into the documents pertaining to one specific theme. These themes included nature policy in relation to nitrogen goals, challenges of housing and care for senior citizens, the shortage of teachers, ac­cessibility of public transpor­tation, government’s digiti­sation information point and the fragmentation of policy information about the Ca­nbbean Netherlands.

The groups formulated questions, with the assis­tance of researchers of the General Audit Chamber and staff members of the Analy­sis and Research Depart­ment of the Second Cham­ber. Member of the Second Chamber Jorien Wuite of the Democratic Party D66 joined the Caribbean Neth­erlands group to discuss the theme with the participants.

The Caribbean Nether­lands group formulated 15 questions. The group asked why the information about Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba was presented in a frag­mented way in the budget chapters and annual reports and why this information was not offered in a bundled manner.

The Caribbean Nether­lands group asked to what extent the dividing of policy responsibility among the dif­ferent ministries formed a risk for a consistent, effec­tive and efficient policy for the islands, in particular for the social security, and how this risk could be mitigated. It was asked whether the co­ordinating role of the state secretary for Kingdom Rela­tions was sufficiently legally secured.

As for poverty eradicating policy, the Caribbean Neth­erlands group asked whether there was sufficient attention for the low threshold acces­sibility of the Social Affairs and Labour SZW Units on the islands. The group want­ed to know why there was a big difference in income between the Caribbean Netherlands and the Neth­erlands, how this related to poverty figures and what ac­tions would be taken to re­duce this difference in light of eradicating poverty.

The Caribbean Nether­lands group further enquired about the deficient IT man­agement of the Kingdom Department for the Carib­bean Netherlands RCN and how this would be solved. They also asked for a speci­fication of the apparatus cost of the RCN as a whole and per island, and the reported inconsistencies at the SZW Unit.

The questions of all eight groups were presented to Chairlady of the Second Chamber Vera Bergkamp at the end of the day in the plenary hall, in the presence of the journalists who sat in the chairs of the Members of the Second Chamber. This was a novum for the jour­nalists who usually sit in the public area upstairs to cover the meetings. College Mem­ber of the General Audit Chamber Barbara Joziasse was present at the plenary session, and gave a short speech.

Members of the Second Chamber can use the jour­nalists’ questions in the debates about the annual reports, while the questions will also be sent to the min­ister or state secretary in­volved for an official reply.

Monday’s V-100 event was opened by Chairman of the Second Chamber’s Com­mittee for Government Spending and Secretary of the General Audit Chamber Cornelis van der Werf, who welcomed the group and explained the process of the annual reports and the Audit Chamber’s role.

The Daily Herald.

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