Councilman Van Xanten not in agreement with Saba’s proposed budget

Van Xanten (l) is critical of the 2023 budget, but feels questions are not adequately addressed by the Executive Council. Photo: Archive BES-Reporter. 

THE BOTTOM- Independent Island Council Member Hemmie van Xanten on Wednesday stayed away from an Island Council Meeting intended to discuss the 2023 budget. 

According to a letter sent by Van Xanten to Governor Jonathan Johnson, the main reason for his absence was that he felt that not enough answers were received for the questions he had posed during a Central Committee meeting discussing the budget. 

“Reason for this decision is mainly based on the fact that I feel that the Draft Budget presented yesterday is not mature enough to pass the Island Council floor. The answers I received yesterday during the Central Committee meeting on my questions are in my opinion too vague”. 

One of the issue Van Xanten is having with the budget regards the post Recreation. “This is under budgeted. As I mentioned several times before, the people of Saba depend too much on the facilities created on the island since travelling has become very expensive and often people have to face the fact that recreation outside Saba is unreachable. More focus needs to be given on creating leisure recreation on island”, according to Van Xanten.

Another issue Van Xanten is raising, is the budget for Agriculture. “The Agriculture section has been operating for years without a developed Agriculture policy. I feel that the budgeted amount is based on ad-hoc decisions. The continued investment in the hydroponic project is not reflecting the results Sabans would like to see. Therefore, more information on planning, production and sales needs to be discussed in order to make this a success”.

Civil service

Van Xanten also takes issue with the planned training of Civil Servants.  I feel that the Draft Budget does not specify clearly the needs and necessities to improve the capacity of the Civil Servants apparatus. Also, the developed ‘functieboek’ is dormant and cannot be used for function grow within the Civil Servant apparatus. In my opinion, this aspect needs to have more attention in detail in order for Civil Servants to be paid accordingly”. 

Van Xanten also expressed question marks for budget amounts for the Planning Bureau, the Social and the Social Domain. 


Van Xanten, in his letter to the Island Council, also expresses disappointment in the lack of more transparency of the Executive Council. “On a final note, I am also very disappointed in the Executive Council for not following up with the motion of earlier this year and by being more transparent. We have not received the Executive Council decision list for over three months now. This is a legal obligation and very important for the general public of Saba”, writes Van Xanten in conclusion. 

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