Critical website: ‘The Netherlands has been keeping Caribbean citizens poor for twelve years’

The media site ‘Follow the Money’, which describes itself as a platform for investigative journalism, writes in a critical article on Saturday that the Netherlands has been allowing the inhabitants of the Caribbean Netherlands to live in poverty for twelve years.

“Residents of Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius have been Dutch citizens since 2010. However, they do not have the same rights as European Dutch citizens: almost half of the BES islanders live in poverty because the minimum wage and benefits are far below the poverty line,” according to the online platform.

Based on various conversations, the journalists of the site paint a fairly disconcerting picture of the situation on the island and the varying efforts of the various cabinets in The Hague.

Successive cabinets ignored calls to change that from the Senate and House of Representatives, the Human Rights Institute and the National Ombudsman. The Bonairean consumer association is therefore taking the state to court,” FTM begins its article.

For the article, the journalists of the critical site went out for a day with a social worker, spoke with various residents who are having a hard time, with local government officials and had an extensive conversation with consumer organization Unkobon.

AOV and benefits

In the article, FTM lists various things that make the situation so difficult. For example, they point out that the minimum wage and benefits are not linked to the costs of subsistence on the islands.

FTM notes that despite all kinds of promises from The Hague, the minimum wage is still more than thirty percent lower than the $1,380 that a single person needs to survive. “The unemployment allowance is even way lower: this year it is $ 570 for a couple,” according to FTM.

The journalists also point to the fact that promises from The Hague about lowering the cost of living on the islands as opposed to raising the incomes, have so far offered little solace. The Cabinet’s latest invention seems to aim for a ‘fictitious benchmark’ for determining the future minimum wage, rather than the actual calculated costs necessary to survive on the islands.

Wishful thinking

This form of reasoning is seen on Bonaire as ‘wishful thinking’ of the Netherlands. ‘Within the Government of Bonaire, we consider the amount that Regioplan has calculated as the subsistence minimum as realistic; not the fictitious benchmark of the cabinet. Because the costs have not yet fallen at all,” FTM notes from the mouth of Commissioner Nina den Heyer.

You can read the complete article here:

Deel dit artikel