State Secretary of Interior and Kingdom Relations (Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties), Raymond Knops and State Secretary for Social Affairs and Labour (Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid), Tamara van Ark, have concluded their working visit to Saba with much optimism for a continued good working relationship with the Public Entity.
Besides visits to various sites the Executive Council in several meetings with the visiting dignitaries addressed important topics such as poverty alleviation, the Saba Package and the cost of doing business.
During the visit the representatives of the Dutch Council of Ministers got to see how several ongoing developments, funded by various Ministries of the Central Government, are taking shape and hear from local representatives in the Executive Council of new developments in early and advanced stages of planning. These include the start of an own drinking water bottling company and plans for the further extension of the seaport facilities at Fort Bay Harbour.
“Each time I visit Saba I am impressed by the ‘practical and can do-attitude’ of the island. This approach by Saba allows for good cooperation with the various ministries in their efforts to work with and for Saba. The Saba Package, presented in December 2018 by the Executive Council, is being handled by the various departments and I await their feedback and input. The good news is that rental subsidy will be implemented during the course of the New Year”, said State Secretary Knops.
State Secretary Van Ark on her first official visit to Saba was given the opportunity to see firsthand how people live. “During the Meet and Greet I have had the opportunity to meet with professionals in the social domain. I see how committed they are and have listened closely to their concerns and request for even closer collaboration among the various social partners.”
“My ministry will look very closely at what can be done comprehensively and together with the objective to effect sustainable results. I have implemented a package of measures as a first step in an effort to reduce poverty. I also would like to explore realizing the social economic dialogue as a part of the Saba Package. Integrating the social dialogue will result in a smart approach allowing all departments to do their jobs better. An example of this is already proven in the BEST for Kids initiative that involves the cooperation between SZW, OCW, VWS, the Executive Council and various local stakeholders responsible with childcare”, said State Secretary Van Ark.
The State Secretaries continue their visit to St. Eustatius on Tuesday and Wednesday continuing on to Bonaire before returning to The Hague.