Ombudsmen: Swift action needed to address poverty

The situa­tion of people living in pov­erty in the Caribbean Neth­erlands has not improved sufficiently. Despite earlier indications, the action being taken to reduce poverty con­cerns in the Caribbean Neth­erlands is still insufficient. The Dutch government must now take steps and come up with a total package of solu­tions that will help people for a longer period of time. This is the conclusion of National Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen and Ombudsman for Children Margrite Kal­verboer in their report “Mak­ing ends meet” that was pre­sented in Bonaire on Thurs­day and reflects on three previous studies on poverty in the Caribbean Netherlands.

For children, growing up in a family living in poverty often has a major impact on daily life and development. It causes a lot of stress for all family members and af­fects parenting. Many fami­lies living in poverty experi­ence great pressure, leaving little peace, quiet and time for child-rearing. As a result, these children are more likely to drop out of school, for in­stance.

According to Kalverboer, “Children who grow up in poverty frequently experi­ence multiple problems in a variety of areas. They are at greater risk of falling behind and it makes children vulner­able. This can lead to poverty being passed on from one generation to the next, which is why it is necessary for the Dutch government to actu­ally take steps.”

The National Ombuds­man and the Ombudsman for Children observed that enough is still not being done to improve the situa­tion of people in poverty in the Caribbean Netherlands. The concerns experienced by people often go beyond mon­ey problems. Residents are also concerned about proper housing, education, health­care and social support.

Although the Dutch govern­ment endorses the recom­mendations and conclusions of the Ombudsmen’s three previous reports, it is tak­ing too long before it acts on these in a tangible way.

Van Zutphen emphasises that the solution calls for more than just monetary funds. “It is important that people are not only helped by providing more money. In addition to an acceptable so­cial minimum, better training options for children and par­ents should be made avail­able. Good and affordable housing is also important. I understand that tackling poverty is a complex matter, but the government must act now. We must ensure a posi­tive outlook for everyone liv­ing in the Caribbean Nether­lands.”

Tackling poverty in the Ca­ribbean Netherlands requires swift action. According to the National Ombudsman and the Ombudsman for Children, previous solutions were often temporary. It is therefore important that the government now comes with sustainable solutions to break the vicious circle of poverty. Both Ombudsmen empha­sise that the solutions should be developed together with the inhabitants (young and old) of the Caribbean Neth­erlands. In doing so, it is im­portant to take into account the cultural differences, the small scale of the islands and the current lack of trust and confidence in the govern­ment, they conclude.

The Daily Herald.

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One comment

  1. ‘Although the Dutch govern­ment endorses the recom­mendations and conclusions of the Ombudsmen’s three previous reports, it is tak­ing too long before it acts on these in a tangible way.’

    You can do as many studies and reports that you like but the reality on the ground is, if you don’t actually, practically do anything, nothing will change, just the usual politricks, talk but no action.


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