Top ministry official visits

A director general in the Dutch Ministry of Infra­structure and Water Manage­ment and her two-man delega­tion were on Saba last month for a working visit.

Director General Afke van Rijn was accompanied by Sebe Buitenkamp and Milton Horn for the visit April 16-17.

Their visit began on April 16 with a tour of Saba’s solar park, accompanied by Island Governor Jonathan Johnson and island Secretary Bram Steppe.

They were hosted by Saba Electric Company (SEC) Managing Director Mark Zagers, who thanked various Dutch ministries and funding agencies for helping to build the solar park. He also talked about the challenges of rising cost of fuel and equipment.

The Dutch delegation being given a tour of facilities at Fort Bay harbour.

A trip to guts in Hell’s Gate followed, as Johnson explained various issues in the area such as illegal dumping of garbage and erosion.

The delegation started the next day with a tour of the bottled water processing facili­ties of Saba Splash. Company representative Oscar Vander Kaap led the tour, explaining the process of water filtration and bottling. Each batch of water is tested in St. Maarten, he said, adding that about 60% of Saba residents drink Saba Splash.

Afterwards, the delegation held a meeting with the gov­ernment’s heads of the depart­ments of Waste Management, Policy and Project Bureau, and Infrastructural and Spatial De­velopment.

In the afternoon, the delega­tion joined Zagers, Depart­ment of Infrastructural and Spatial Development Head Zelda Meeuwsen, and Policy Advisor Courtney Hassell at Fort Bay.

Meeuwsen showed the del­egation the location for the new Black Rocks harbour and shared plans and the timeline for construction, while Zagers presented the potential loca­tion of a new solar park.

Zagers shared concerns about drainage and run-off into the ocean. Hassell reiterated this worry, citing the decline of cor­al in local waters from around 30% coverage in the 1990s to just 8% now.

The delegation then visited the island’s waste management facility. Department of Waste Management Head Roxanne Simmons explained the pro­cess of exporting waste. She said it was still a challenge to encourage people to dispose of their waste in the correct bins.

The delegation’s last stop was at Saba Research Center, where Alwin Hylkema talked about various ongoing conser­vation projects.

The delegation left Saba that evening for St. Eustatius.

The Daily Herald.

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