Task Force Bottlenecks Caribbean Netherlands to continue its work.

Seeing the useful work that it has done thus far and the importance of implementing the plans that have been drafted, Dutch caretaker State Sec­retary of Kingdom Rela­tions and Digitalisation Alexandra van Huffelen has decided to continue the Task Force Bottlenecks Ca­ribbean Netherlands.

The state secretary con­firmed this in a letter that she sent to the Dutch Sec­ond Chamber of Parlia­ment on Monday. “Based on the reports of the task force and the talks I have had with the public entities, I can conclude that the way of working leads to prog­ress in these complex, often enduring issues.”

The Task Force Bottle­necks Caribbean Nether­lands was established in September last year to work on bottlenecks that persist mainly in St. Eustatius and Saba, but also to a certain extent in Bonaire. They are the Citizen Service Number BSN, postal codes, notarial services, banking services, undivided properties, eco­nomic diversification, digi­talising, work and residency permits and connectivity. The task force has proven to generate an added value on the subjects for which no plan of approach was draft­ed or for which no owner­ship was established. In some cases, the task force temporarily took owner­ship and proposed a solu­tion. This happened in the case of introducing postal codes, improving banking services and solving the matter of undivided prop­erties.

The Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Home Af­fairs and Kingdom Rela­tions, the Dutch Central Bank worked together with the public entities and came to several actions. A new approach was formu­lated for the problems with banking services in Saba.

The public entity Saba is now able to establish a ser­vice providing agreement with one or more banks to secure local banking ser­vices of a certain quality. “The talks with the banks thus far have resulted in a number of smaller shared results and I personally commit to bring the negoti­ations further and to arrive at concrete results,” Van Huffelen stated.

The Ministry of Finance is also assessing whether a service providing agree­ment between the ministry and a bank is possible in or­der to improve the quality of the banking services for the long term.

An approach was estab­lished with the relevant stakeholders for the issue of undivided properties with which the public entities can get to work. One of the pos­sibilities is through pilots to tackle undivided properties. The bottleneck of appoint­ing a notary for Saba and St. Eustatius was solved. Per July 1, 2023, a perma­nent notary was appointed. Two other concrete solu­tions were the decision to introduce the BSN and postal codes.

“This certainly does not mean that all problems have been fully addressed, but we are on the right track That is why I want to make sure that the work of the task force is continued, that the plans that have been drafted are implemented and that we keep making an effort for concrete re­sults that help residents and entrepreneurs in the Carib­bean Netherlands,” Van Huffelen stated.

On the issue of connec­tivity, the state secretary noted that the task force supported the evaluation of the Makana Ferry between St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba. “This evaluation has shown that residents are making a lot of use of this ferry service and that there is much support for the continuation.”

Scenarios have been drafted to continue this ferry service which is cur­rently subsidised by the Dutch government. Before the end of this year, there should be clarity on how this important service can be continued, stated Van Huffelen. The possibility of implementing a public service obligation PSO for aviation between the three islands is included in the process.

The Daily Herald.

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One comment

  1. On the issue of connectivity, the evaluation is not showing all the concerns of Saba people. One area in particular is the unreasonable restrictions on Sabans, who go over to get a few needed supplies. If it cannot fit in your suitcase, then you are out of luck. Meanwhile, there are all different boxes loaded for residents of Statia. We see it and some of us have images to prove it.

    What I am saying is as follows: we know this is a ferry service, however there needs to be some leeway to allow residents who go over to get some shopping done the ability to carry a box, or two of a certain size. Another option is probable to designate a certain day…say Thursdays, as a day that this is allowed.

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