Social security, reforms focal points Kingdom Relations 2023

Improving of the social security for residents of Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius and coming to new agreements on the collaboration to implement reforms with the countries Curacao, Aruba and St. Maarten. In 2023, these were some of the most important milestones in the relations between the Netherlands and the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom, it was stated in a press release.

In 2023, the report of the Social Minimum Committee Caribbean Netherlands was released. Partly based on the advice of this commit­tee, the Dutch government decided to make 30 million euro structurally available as of 2024 to strengthen the social security of people on Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius. To this extent, the social minimum and the legal minimum wage will be increased to US $1,750 per month per the July,1 2024.

Various measures were taken in 2023 to reduce the cost of living on these islands. Examples are the energy subsidy, lower internet costs, the subsidy for the ferry in the Windward Islands and a financial contribution to organise public transport on Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius.

Government agreements were signed with both St. Eustatius and Saba in 2023. Central themes in these agreements are, among other things, social security, economic and/or physical development, climate, na­ ture, environment, good governance and strengthening of the operational capac­ity.

The four countries in the Kingdom signed the Mutual Agreement early April 2023 for sustainable collabora­tion on reforms in the public sector of the Caribbean countries. For this purpose, Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten work together with the Temporary Work Organ­isation (TWO).

Among other things, an agreement was reached in Aruba about modernising the labour market in combination with strengthening the social security. Also, a care agreement was reached to manage the healthcare costs and to safeguard the quality of care.

In Curacao, the pro­gramme Improving Func­tioning Government was approved to realise savings in the cost of personnel and to strengthen the quality of the government organisation. The permits window for entrepreneurs in Cura­cao was digitalised and work was continued to tackle the backlog in maintenance of school buildings.

In St.Maarten, the frame­ work for sizeable reforms in the government organisa­tion was established in 2023. Strengthening of the govern­ment organisation, the organisation culture and integrity are focal points in this.

In 2023, the Ministry of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK reserved close to 18 million euros for the tackling of subver­sive crime in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. These means were utilised for the expansion of capacity at the Detective Cooperation Team RST, the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Curacao, St. Maarten and the Carib­ bean Netherlands, the Public Prosecutor’s Office Aruba and the Joint Court of Justice. In 2023, the implementation of the first proj­ects started based on jointly drafted plans of approach, such as the developing of awareness campaigns, hir­ing legislation capacity and drafting subversive crime assessments.

According to the ministry, St. Maarten’s reconstruction after the devastating hurricane Irma in 2017 progresses steadily. The results of the investments via the Trust Fund St. Maarten Reconstruction, financed by the Netherlands and managed by the World Bank, are becoming more visible. The total size of the Trust Fund projects amounted to more than $443 million at the end of 2023. In total, 12 projects received trust fund grants in 2023. Also, the World Bank opened its local office on the island in 2023 which contributes to the effectiveness of the Bank’s work.

The ministry also took on Kingdom-wide projects. On the July 1, 2023, the Commemoration Year Slavery past started. In close col­ laboration with the islands, a commemoration was organised in Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius on July 1. A member of the Dutch Government was present on each island. On July 3, State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen pronounced the formal rehabilitation of Curacao freedom fighter and resistance hero Tula on behalf of the Dutch State. Archives from the Slavery past were transferred to the Aruba National Archive where the process will continue to scan the archives with old handwritings.

Lastly, the Ministry of BZK contributed 500,000 euros to the new programme Cooperating Funds Caribbean of the Oranjefonds for social initiatives in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. The programme is aimed at initiatives that provide assistance to families in vul­nerable positions. Social organisations on the six islands can apply at this fund.

The Daily Herald.

Saba receives first official police enforcement car in the Caribbean Netherlands
MP White requests Dutch govt. monitor social minimum BES

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Saba News