By René Zwart
The Hague – The Executive Council of Saba has told The Hague in no uncertain terms what it feels about the failure to establish a ‘social minimum’ for Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba.
“Although we understand that especially the high cost of living makes it difficult to establish the exact level of subsistence, the failure to establish the social minimum is hard to explain to the many people who have (financial) problems day in, day out”, is stated in the letter sent on behalf of Saba’s Executive Council to state secretaries Van Ark and Knops on behalf of Saba’s Executive Council.
“We cannot deny that certain steps have taken by the Dutch government to alleviate the worst, but more is needed than the measures proposed now. As indicated earlier, energy prices have increased by almost 50% due to the Electricity and Water Act BES. Accepting that measures will only be taken after an evaluation in 2020 is not acceptable, in our opinion”, according to the letter, signed by Island Governor Johnson.
The extent of the disappointment is clear from the following passage: “It is inconceivable to us that it is acceptable for a developed country such as the Netherlands, that so many citizens on our island are condemned to live in poverty. We endorse the opinion of one of the spokesmen in the Second Chamber that a social minimum is a matter of human rights. ”
Earlier, Bonaire’s Executive Council expressed itself in a very critical way about the research done on the level of subsistence on the islands. But coming from Saba, normally considered The Hague’s darling, must have hit the Council of Ministers hard. The Hague often points to Saba as the most positive example out of the three BES-islands.