Saba gets 12.5 million euros for the Fort Bay Harbour expansion and renovation project. St. Eustatius gets 7 million euros to tackle the coastal erosion. The Dutch Council of Ministers on Friday approved the funds as part of the so-called Regional Envelope.
In total, 30 million euros will be invested Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba to give the social and economic development an “extra impulse,” said State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops after Friday’s Council of Ministers meeting.
Of the 30 million euros from the regional Envelope, a second, though much smaller amount will go towards Saba: 1 million euros for the development of agriculture. Especially the 12.5 million for the harbour project is very good news for Saba.
Commissioner Bruce Zagers: “For Saba to get this large amount of money from the Regional Envelope is a true sign of the motto ‘more for more’ in action. This is also an indication that the Dutch government sees the rebuilding and expansion of our harbour as an important project for Saba’s development. This is a great achievement for Saba and I am grateful for all those who have worked tirelessly to make this happen.”
For Bonaire, the Dutch government is reserving 5 million euros for three projects: a more sustainable fuel provision, 2.5 million euros to stimulate social housing and 1.5 million euros for the development of agriculture and the slaughter house.
Funds are also reserved for a job centre in Bonaire to stimulate labour mediation, as well as improving the connection between education and the labour market. However, the funds for Bonaire will not become immediately available, at least not until good governance and solid financial management have been achieved.
Minister of Agriculture and Nature Carola Schouten stated in a letter to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Friday that State Secretary Knops is consulting with the Bonaire Executive Council about the required improvements and the way he can support the local government in achieving this.
The state secretary wants to arrive at a formal accord with the Bonaire government in which the priority themes are identified and concrete content is given to good governance. The funds for Bonaire will be deployed as soon as this accord is sealed, agreements have been made on good governance and financial management, and the management plans for the projects are ready.
Knops said on Friday he plans to visit the Windward Islands and Bonaire in the first week of September, together with his colleagues, Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Cora van Nieuwenhuizen and State Secretary of Social Affairs and Labour Tamara van Ark.
The 30 million euros from the Regional Envelope is assigned to the Caribbean Netherlands because the Dutch government finds it important to improve the economic perspective on the islands by strengthening the infrastructure and reducing poverty. In the Dutch Government Accord it was agreed to invest in the strengthening of the regions. The Caribbean Netherlands is one of the six regions.
The Daily Herald.