On Monday January 26th, The Executive Council of Saba met with State Secretary of Social Affairs, Mrs. Jetta Klijnsma. The main topics of discussion were the increase in poverty, the high cost of living, and the motion that was passed in the Second Chamber to establish a poverty line.
Commissioner Chris Johnson of Constitutional Affairs urged the State Secretary to take measures against the increased poverty on Saba. “In cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs we have taken several initiatives to combat poverty, such as the Public Assistance fund and the Employment Opportunities Program, but it is not enough. As long as we don’t bring allowances such as Onderstand and AOV to an acceptable level, poverty will continue to increase. The Evaluation Committee lead by Ms. Liesbeth Spies concludes that poverty on Saba has increased over the past five years, and now is the time to address this problem,” Commissioner Johnson stated.
The Executive Council presented a letter to the State Secretary requesting an independent investigation into an acceptable level of provisions for Saba, based on the conclusions of the Committee Spies and the motion passed by the Second Chamber to establish a poverty line. The Executive Council hopes to discuss progress on this topic during the Caribbean Netherlands week in June in The Hague.