Saba Island Council visits the Netherlands

Members of the Island Council met with caretaker State Secretary Raymond Knops during his visit to Saba in May this year. From left: Island Council Members Carl Buncamper, Vito Charles, Eviton Heyliger, Island Council Registrar Akilah Levenstone, Island Council Member Esmeralda Johnson, State Secretary Knops and Island Council Member Hemmie van Xanten. (File photo)

The Bottom, Saba – Saba Island Council Members will visit the Netherlands from Thursday, June 24 to Friday, July 2 for meetings and trainings.

Friday, June 25 and Wednesday, June 30 are reserved for meetings with members of the permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament in The Hague. A meeting behind closed doors is scheduled with the Committee for Kingdom Relations on Wednesday, June 30.

The Island Council members will also have meetings with the individual Kingdom Relations spokespersons of the various political parties represented in the Committee, including the liberal democratic VVD party, the Labor Party PvdA, the Christian Democratic Party CDA and the Democratic Party D66.

The Saba delegation wants to discuss matters that are important for the island and its development, such as: establishing structural, long-term budgets, establishing a social minimum with sufficient income for people sustain themselves, improving transportation between St. Maarten and Saba, investments in agriculture and the educational facilities, and securing a better, more affordable banking system.

On Monday morning, June 28, the Island Council members will take part in a training provided by the Seven Senses Foundation. This training, which takes part in The Hague, focuses on citizen participation: the role of citizens and their participation in government.

On Monday afternoon, the Saba delegation will meet with representatives of the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) in Amsterdam to talk about matters like the limited services offered by the sole bank on the island at extremely high costs, opportunities for Dutch Caribbean residents to open a bank account in the Netherlands/Europe, and opportunities to apply for affordable mortgages.

On Tuesday morning, June 29, a meeting is planned with officials of the Council of State in The Hague. Topics that the Saba delegation would like to talk about include the need for structural financing, the educational infrastructure/buildings, and recreational facilities. On Tuesday afternoon, the delegation will visit the slavery exhibition in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

On Thursday, July 1, the day after the meetings in the Second Chamber, the delegation will take part in a second training. The leadership training will focus on team building, open communication and leadership tools, and will be provided by leadership development institution Ontwikkelhuis.

On Friday, July 2, the delegation travels back to Saba. The delegation consists of Island Council Members Carl Buncamper, Eviton Heyliger, Vito Charles, Esmeralda Johnson and Hemmie van Xanten and Island Council Registrar Akilah Levenstone.

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