Decision-making on islands’ child allowance is pending

The deci­sion-making process regard­ing an increase in the child allowances for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba has not been concluded as yet, and should be seen as separate from the one billion cures re­served to augment these al­lowances in the Netherlands per January 1, 2019.

Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops stated this on Monday in re­sponse to written questions submitted by Members of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Antje Di­ertens of the Democrat D66 party and Joba van den Berg of the Christian Democratic Party CDA.

Diertens and Van den Berg asked Knops why no funds had been set aside from the one billion cures for the children and families in the Caribbean Netherlands. He explained that the conclusion that no funds had been made available for children on the islands was “premature.” “The decision-making for the Caribbean Netherlands, which has its own context, will be announced separate­ly.”

Diertens used the opportu­nity to address the issue dur­ing a debate with Knops last week Thursday and in antici­pation of his answers to the written questions.

“The good news was recent­ly presented that the Dutch government will reserve one billion euros for children, for the child allowance (`kinder­bijslag’), the child-related budget (‘kindgebonden budget’) and the child care allowance (‘kinderopvang­toeslag’),” she said.

“This is good news, but in the Caribbean Netherlands people wondered whether this good news applied to them as well. People asked whether their children would also receive something. Peo­ple felt neglected. What are we going to do for the chil­dren in the Caribbean Neth­erlands?”

Knops said during the de­bate that he understood the confusion. “When something is presented for the Nether­lands, it looks like the Ca­ribbean Netherlands are be­ing forgotten. That is surely not the case. It is just that this hadn’t been presented as yet,” he said, adding that talks were ongoing on this matter.

He assured that the Dutch government considered the social allowances for the is­lands an important topic. He said he was very well aware that poverty was a big prob­lem on the islands and that this needed to be tackled with a “good set of instru­ments.”

Responding to a question from Diertens about the so­cial minimum assessment, for which the Second and First Chambers have been clamouring, Knops said his colleague State Secretary of Social Affairs and Labour Tamara van Ark had prom­ised that the social minimum report would be sent to Par­liament before July I.

The Daily Herald.

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