Let’s make our votes count, urges Zagers

Saba Commissioner Bruce Zagers is urging the people to vote in this Wednesday’s elections for a new Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament. “The Members of the Second Chamber are also our representatives. We have to make our votes count.”

Zagers said on Monday that in the past few weeks he has been approached by many persons in the community who asked him why they should vote and for whom they should vote for in the March 15 Dutch Parliamentary elections. Zagers didn’t give specific voting advice as some politicians on the other islands have done. He merely emphasized the importance of voting.

“There is a saying that all politics are local. Saba is separated from the Netherlands by several thousand miles so it is difficult for us to feel a part of the Dutch electoral system. For the most part we don’t know the candidates, we don’t know or understand the party principles and we are not part of the election campaign which many of us enjoy in the Caribbean,” he said.

Still, there is a very important reason to go out and vote. “Although these elections do not come with the same local appeal as our own island elections, it is still important for us to participate and vote,” said Zagers, who explained that these elections are expected to bring change, new Members of Parliament, a new coalition and new Ministers.

“The outcome of the election will have consequences not only for the Netherlands but for us as well who live in the Caribbean Netherlands. On Saba we have approximately 890 eligible voters and we should come out in large numbers so that our votes count as well,” said the Commissioner.

“We must remember that the Members of Parliament are also our representatives. The Ministers who will be appointed are very involved and influential in what happens for Saba and our people. Because of this it is important that we send a strong message on Election Day that we are here. That we do pay attention and that as citizens we expect proper representation.”

By not going out to vote, Saba would send a negative message. “It would send a message that we don’t care and that we are not interested. This is not a message that we want to send.” Zagers emphasized that the elected representatives could assist with some of the issues that Saba was faced with, such as poverty, the high cost of living, the red tape and the tax burden.

The Commissioner said the people would need to be patient, but remain optimistic. “After the election we must temper our expectations about how soon this new coalition will take action to help alleviate our problems. We need to be hopeful for coalition members who have more compassion for the islands,” he said.

“That is why on Wednesday we need to send a strong message to the politicians in the Netherlands by coming out in large numbers to vote. We should support parties who have shown a willingness to support our islands especially because of how radical political movements seem to be trending worldwide.

“I hope that you will come out in large numbers and make a statement to the politicians in the Netherlands. Send a message that we are here, that we do pay attention and that we do expect fair representation,” Zagers said.

The Daily Herald.

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5 comments

  1. Which party to vote for?
    In general, the BES islands are not a priority for the political parties. The islands are not self-supporting, therefore continuously need to be subsidized by Dutch tax payers. In return, the Dutch tax payers only get complaints from the islanders.

    It was interesting to read the article about the proposed reduction of PCN pensions on this site. Apparently only the PvdA politicians reacted to the ministry.

    If I would live in the BES, I would support the party that is actually working for me. It seems that the other parties that are lobbying for your support, only produce hot air.

    Kees Jansen

    • Saba produced the highest net tax per capita for all islands in the Caribbean, despite its small population and lower economic volume. So, I’d say Saba does indeed contribute something to the tax pot !

      • Sure, Saba’s contribution is not to be neglected. But the amount of money that floats from east to west is significant. The spending of this money by the local government may be questioned: 500,000 USD is being spent on the trail upgrade to Mount Scenery and 250,000 USD for the trail to Mary’s Point. And there maybe more of these urgent projects in the pipeline.

        • Your figures for the trails are incorrect, they are in fact much lower. You seem to be fishing for attention at the expense of your credibility. In any case, please inform yourself before posting in public.

      • The highest per net tax capita says nothing about the total which is the point Kees is making. However, there are many regions in NL that are subsidized too. Solidarity between different provinces and major cities is hard lacking in NL too.

        Most people in the European Netherlands cannot vote for a party that entirely lines up with their own wishes either. There are many regions not represented in The Hague as well as they would like. On top of that, the liberals are not liberal, the socialistic parties not social, and the labor party does’t actually create jobs and the christian democrats aren’t very democratic.

        It should be obvious voting PVV or VVD is not in the best interest of the BES islands. Neither is any of the very small parties. The CDA is when it comes down to it not so different from PVV and VVD. GroenLinks are idealists with no sense of reality. 50plus has no interest in the BES islands. SP, as well as groenlinks, are founded on communistic ideas and we all know that doesn’t work.

        That leaves D66 and PvdA. D66 will form a cabinet with the VVD, like the PvdA currently has. PvdA lost more than half their voters because of thaf and it’s unlikely they will do that next term. It’s more than likely they will end up in the opposition, with little power.

        Voting for a specific party seems to be an impossible choice, I suggest voting for a specific person instead, one that genuinely cares for the BES islands, which is Roelof van Laar. Google him. From the PvdA, but he isn’t Plasterk, and PvdA is more likely to vote towards subsidizing the BES islands more (which not all dutch taxpayers complain about, in fact, there are many who think it should be increased).

        Do not let anyone tell you you are getting hand outs or need to beg for money from Dutch, you have a right to it, as much as people in Groningen or Zeeland have. Even more in my opinion, as there is some catching up to do. How much tax you pay is completely irrelevant.

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