Islands to seek attention for poverty in The Hague

Delegations of the Dutch public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba have arrived in the Netherlands to prepare for the so-called Caribbean Netherlands Week, writes The Daily Herald.

Poverty and the Multi-annual Development Programme will be an important topic in the talks in The Hague. The delegations will be meeting with the different Dutch ministries this week to prepare for the Caribbean Netherlands Week which takes place from June 8 to 12. The islands come to The Hague on a yearly basis to discuss policies, projects and related finances.

Bonaire’s Executive Council stated in a press release on Monday that it would focus on the combating of poverty on the island. This subject has been brought forward several times, but talks so far have not yielded the “desired result.” “The Dutch Government has made no progress in this area. We want to again talk about this issue to see how we can arrive at a better standard of living. The Hague has a responsibility in this matter,” said Bonaire Commissioner Clark Abraham who leads the delegation.

Recent figures of the Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS) and the National Institute for Budget Consultation of the Netherlands NIBUD have shown that some 60 per cent of the people of Bonaire are living beneath the poverty line. One quarter of the households in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba have an annual income of some US $6,000. A topic that directly ties into poverty is economic development. This too is deemed an important topic that the delegations will be discussing in The Hague.

“We don’t want the Dutch Government to only promise that it is important to invest in economic development, but that it actually believes in this concept. Poverty can only be structurally addressed by having a strong economy,” said Commissioner Abraham. A Multi-annual Development Plan for the three islands will be high on the agenda during this Caribbean Netherlands Week. It was agreed during the previous Caribbean Netherlands Week in June 2014 that the definite decision-taking and related finances on this programme would take place this year.

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