Last working visit for Van Huffelen

Caretaker State Secretary of Kingdom Relations and Digitisation Alexandra van Huffelen is visiting Aruba, Bonaire, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten from Sunday to Friday, May 26-31. This is expected to be her last work­ing visit to the islands. The visit is marked by the Gover­nors’ Consultation in Aruba, the conclusion of a gover­nance agreement in Bonaire and the official opening of a social housing project in Saba.

In Aruba, she will par­ticipate in consultations with the three governors of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten. This is a regular, recurring consultation formally included in the Governors’ Regulation, ac­cording to a press release. Van Huffelen will also visit University of Aruba where, among other things, she will tour the Maria Convent building on the university campus recently renovated with European funds. With a contribution of more than seven million euros from the EU, this building has been transformed into a modern teaching facility.

During her stay in Aruba, Van Huffelen will also meet with the island’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and others (LGBTQI+) community and will be introduced to Aruba’s new attorney gen­eral.

Van Huffelen will sign the new governance agreement with Bonaire on May 28. Some eye-catching compo­nents are the programme “Working on Welfare and Prosperity”, the additional impetus to the protection and development of Papia­mentu, the focus on man­ageable growth and eco­nomic development and the ambition to arrive at a region deal for Bonaire. On Bonaire, she will also en­gage with residents about living on the island with a disability.

On St. Eustatius and Saba, Van Huffelen will hold talks with the Executive Councils of the islands on the prog­ress and implementation of the 2023 administrative agreements. On St. Eustati­us, she will visit various loca­tions that are part of the re­gion deal. The visit will also be used as an opportunity to discuss with stakeholders the progress of solving the goat problem on the island. The visit to the islands will also focus on the progress of realising affordable housing and spatial planning on the islands. Van Huffelen will open the Under the Hill 2 housing project on Saba on Thursday, May 30. She will also visit a future construction site for affordable hous­ing.

The visit ends on Friday, May 31, in St. Maarten, where a meeting will be held with the members of the now-outgoing cabinet. “Of course, I hope to learn more about the current po­litical situation and what will happen next and when the elections will take place,” Van Huffelen said during an online Kingdom Council of Ministers press confer­ence. However, she said, she would like to focus on ensur­ing that important projects such as the country packag­es, the reconstruction after Hurricane Irma and the new prison are not delayed.

Although this trip is expect­ed to be Van Huffelen’s last working visit to the islands as state secretary, she said she is looking forward to vis­iting the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom with her hus­band.

The Daily Herald.

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