The Commissioners of Constitutional Affairs of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba met on Bonaire earlier this week to discuss the draft Dutch Cabinet’s standpoint on the Spies Committee re port, on the evaluation of five years on new constitutional ties between the three islands and the Netherlands.
Saba’s Commissioner of Constitutional Affairs Chris Johnson travelled to Bonaire. Also present at the meetings were Commissioners of Constitutional Affairs Reginald Zaandam (St. Eustatius) and Clark Abraham (Bonaire). Secretary General of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Richard van Zwol presented the draft reaction of the Dutch Government.
The Spies Report addressed various aspects of the constitutional transition including legislation, the effects of the transition on the population and the administrative structure.
One of the main conclusions was that poverty on the islands has increased, which can be attributed to the higher cost of living which occurred due the introduction of the US dollar, as well as the tax structure.
Bonaire, Statia and Saba have all submitted their reactions to the Report and have met with members of the Dutch Parliament’s First and Second Chambers on several occasions to express their concerns.
Saba has also sent several letters to The Hague outlining what changes would best benefit the island through measures to combat poverty, increasing efficiency of government spending and transferring certain tasks to the island.
This week’s meeting was an opportunity for the islands to get insight into the Dutch Government’s position on the Spies Report. The Cabinet standpoint will be discussed in the Council of Ministers early May, to be followed by discussions in the Second and First Chambers in June.
Commissioner Johnson will inform the Central Committee of Saba’s Island Council about the meeting on Tuesday, May 3. After that a joint reaction of Saba, Statia and Bonaire will be sent to the Netherlands.
The Daily Herald.