Apart from all propaganda and promises, it makes sense to look at achievements in the past also. This text is just an opinion but definitely also based on experiences and facts.
Because actually only two Commissioners were really in power to perform and realise achievements, it is there where one should evaluate what has been performed in the last period.
Let me list the – in my view – positive results first:
- Innovation of the harbour and the customs office
- A spectacular improvement of the public roads
- An also spectacular initiative to have the majority of the cables under the ground
- The new recycling initiative and improvement of handling waste
- Improvements in Healthcare (partially initiated or enforced by the Dutch government)
- Parking lot in Windwardside
- The remarkable improvement of public finances (with assistance from a Dutch expert, but persisting even when some people tried to obstruct the initiative)
- The re-installing of the Hyperbaric Chamber
- Updating the requirements of the airport
- The Johan Cruijff centre
- The new cultural centre in The Bottom, incl. The library
- May be even more?
At the other side a list of failures (again in my view):
- The failure of an unrealistic plan (costs 8 million) for the so-called “Brede School”
- Having appointed not well functioning members of the board of the Saba Comprehensive School and not interfering when for a second time things went wrong
- Being forced by external Dutch experts to cooperate with implementing some improvements at the SCS
- Not realising the plan for a 2 hectare farmland near Troy Hill
- Although there have been several recommendations by University Wageningen on how to improve agriculture and although also an official report from Dutch civil servants from the Ministry of Agriculture made similar recommendations, nothing has been improved in the agriculture on Saba
- Although there has been an application for becoming listed as World Heritage, the conditions set by the Dutch government and by UNESCO have not been met, which resulted in a delay of at least 25 years to get that qualification according conclusions by Rijksdienst Cultureel Erfgoed (RCE).
- Although the Dutch Ministery and the National Restoration Fund made available 1.25 million Euros, not one of the conditions has been implemented which resulted in the fact that at least 10 owners of traditional buildings missed the opportunity to use that money. All the available money will be transferred to Statia and/or Bonaire.
- The dumping of building materials etc. near the Tent Reef, threatening one of the best diving areas with corals
- The fact that there is no permanent solution for the roaming goats. Shooting more of these is no guarantee for preventing new problems. This while tere is an Island ordinaire prescribing how the problem should be solved.
- Partly questionable is the implementation of the millions for greenery and not achieving to use all the available subsidy in 2014
- The fact that there is – even 4 years after the first proposal – not a new APV (Local Ordinance or Island Ordinance)
- The fact that the old but still valid Island Ordinance from has not been enforced.
- The fact that spatial planning has not been regulated.
- The fact that the Building Ordinance has not been enforced and that everybody can start building and reconstructing without the obligatory open procedure in which inhabitants who are afflicted get a say and get the opportunity to make objections.
- May be even more?
It might be that I missed more failures but also that I forgot to mention some positive results for which Commissioners are held to be responsible (without having been forced). In comments those results should be mentioned and it would be fair, when those comments will be given here on Saba News. But be aware: it is about facts in the past and not about promises.
Remarkable is the fact that the Commissioner of whom everybody can list the majority of positive results, is not complaining that much about the Dutch government. Also understandable because many of his initiatives have been supported with money from the Netherlands.
The one who is responsible for so many failures (and maybe also some results) is always complaining about the Dutch, as interfering and he is complaining about too many Dutch regulations and he is persisting in wanting to be more independant.
Again: when more positive aspects can be mentioned, that should be done in order to make corrections on this opinion. Contributions to the lists are welcome in order to make up a fair balance.
René Caderius van Veen