Motions carried for Saba, Statia

A majority of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Tuesday adopted three separate motions to speed up the process to restore democ­racy in St. Eustatius, to allocate the thirty-million-euro envelope for the Caribbean Netherlands in consultation with the islands and to structurally add US $1.5 mil­lion to Saba’s budget.

A large majority supported the St. Eustatius motion submitted by Member of Parliament (MP) Jorien Wuite of Democratic Party D66 and co-signed by MPs Sylva­na Simons of the BIJ1 party and Don Ceder of ChristianUnion. Wuite’s motion called on the Dutch government to speed up the process to restore democracy in St. Eustatius and to in­form the Second Chamber about the results of the me­diation with a measurable route timetable, including specification of the phases, criteria and means. The motion also requested that government restore the au­thorities of the Statia Island Council in conformity with phase two after the March 2023 Island Council elec­tions.

Two motions of MP Joba van den Berg of Christian Democratic Party CDA received majority support as well. The first motion called on the Dutch gov­ernment to secure that the proposals for the allocation of funding from the 30-mil­lion-euro envelope for the Caribbean Netherlands would be incorporated in an integral plan under the direction of the Ministry of Home Affairs and King­dom Relations BZK,

Van den Berg’s motion, which was co-signed by MP Attje Kuiken of Labour Party PvdA, also asked government to make sure that the funding from the 30-million-euro envelope would be in addition to existing projects and was supported by Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.

State Secretary of King­dom Relations and Digi­tisation Alexandra van Huffelen did not advise against the motion in ques­tion during a so-called two-minute debate last week Tuesday, but she did not consider it a good idea to park the 30 million at the Ministry of BZK.

Van Huffelen advised last week against a second mo­tion of Van den Berg and Kuiken to allocate $1.5 million for Saba to enable the island government to balance its budget. How­ever, a large majority of the Second Chamber expressed support for the motion dur­ing the voting on Tuesday. The public entity Saba has great difficulty balancing its budget because the free al­lowance from The Hague is too low to cover the op­erational and structural expenditures. The motion asked the Dutch govern­ment to bring the free al­lowance, starting per the 2022 budget year, up to an appropriate level by struc­turally adding $1.5 million from the funding allocated for the Caribbean Nether­lands envelope, for Saba to have a structurally bal­anced budget.

Van den Berg immediately responded to the adopting of the motion by asking for a letter from the Dutch government on how it in­tended to implement the Second Chamber decision, also seeing that Van Huffel­en had advised against the motion. According to Van Huffelen, the motion was premature, as consulta­tions on the division of the 30-million-euro envelope were still ongoing.

A second motion of MP Wuite, co-signed by Simons and Ceder, was adopted as well. This motion request­ed that the Dutch govern­ment make interest-free loans available for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba to construct social and/or af­fordable housing.

Another motion that was adopted on Tuesday came from MP Roelien Kammin­ga of the liberal democratic WD party. The motion called on the Dutch gov­ernment to make sure that the funding for improving sustainability in generating electricity in the Caribbean Netherlands would contrib­ute to lower energy prices on the islands and more employment.

A sixth motion adopted by the Second Chamber was submitted by MP Ceder and co-signed by Wuite and Lammert van Raan of the Party for Animals PvdD. This motion asked the Dutch government to con­sult with the public entities to arrive at a better view and policy on the islands with regard to people suf­fering from poverty issues, and to look at transferring certain social allowances for this group to the local governments.

The Daily Herald.

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