Fostering dialogue on formal cooperation and establishing joint positions on areas of common interest were of the main outcomes of the BES Summit which was held last week in St. Maarten.
Attending the summit were the members of the Island and Executive Councils of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.
The main objective of the three-day forum was to continue to forge a collective approach on administrative and political challenges facing the islands, some of which have been a direct result of the constitutional transition.
The session was presided over by Statia’s Island Council Member Glenville Schmidt. St Eustatius currently functions as Chair for the cooperation initiative of the islands. Participants of the summit agreed that the meetings had proven to be a platform for open debate as well as an opportunity to develop consensus among the political institutions of the islands.
The common purpose and aim of these island summits are to work on a joint mechanism of permanent cooperation between the islands, and to gain detailed insight into the different priorities present on the various islands when it comes to the changes of the WolBES and FinBES
Because changes to these fundamental laws are now ongoing, it is important that the islands identify their shared concerns ahead of the legislation being presented to the Second Chamber for passage.
The three islands believe that it is a truly historic occasion that the islands on their own accord seek to establish their own cooperation. They also acknowledge that building consensus can at times appear to be an arduous task. However, collectively, they remain cognizant that this is a joint effort, and it is important to remain supportive of each other even when differing in their outlook.
The islands stated that they have resolved to continue working together as this is in the benefit of all the residents of the three islands. A working group comprising of a commissioner and the fraction leaders of each island will be established to ensure progress on various topics.
The next summit will take place in The Hague, in March, 2024.