Opinion: political achievements.

Dear Editor,

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

oog-van-uil

SBA awarded Patrick Hassell
Ecolodge organises “Saba-Aid” fundraiser

13 comments

  1. Here are some other items that can be added to the positive result list.

    1. Complete overhaul of the SCS in 2012, including new court yard, new curriculum outlines for all subjects,
    2. the complete renovation of the “leather factory” now a state of the art technical department for the MBO students
    3. The preparations for the renovation of the SHS and SCS coming from the 8 million dollars you mentioned
    4. The plans for purchasing the property in front of the SCS to build a state of the art daycare and kindergarten, also coming from the 8 million dollars you mentioned
    5. The Cove Bay project, where a playground has been constructed, an artificial white sand beach has been created and the sea water pool has been improved
    6. A very positive and professional relationship has been developed with the various Dutch ministries resulting in having respect from European Netherlands for Saba
    7. Upgrading of street lights in the Bottom and The Windwardside

    Any more positive results?

    Saba Guru

  2. Other positives:

    1. Renovating the park in The Bottom (not finished, but its looking nice);
    2. Low income homes built in The Range and Under the Hill;
    3. The building behind the Post Office is being renovated for the SABARC and Saba Lace ladies to use;
    4. Day Care Center was renovated and an extra room, I believe, was added to it;
    5. The Government Admin. building was renovated;
    6. The gymnasium on St. Johns and SCS have been renovated in the past few years;
    7. Putting a youth employment program in place

  3. There are too many to mention. But here a few more:
    -set up of the E-Team with shareholders (CoC, SMA, SBA, Dep. of Economic Affairs, Dep. of Tourism, government)
    -working together on the now published development plan
    -creating of an investment brochure
    -common objections of the E-Team concerning the increase in work permit fees and taxes (ABB for 2016)
    Meeting in Statia with all business support organizations, CBI, CoC, Statia government, Saba government and signing of a memorandum of understanding to address together economic development
    -meeting with the E-Team and the evaluation committee, addressing concerns about the tax structure and many other problems that need to be chanced.
    -working with the Tourism Committee on adverting Saba and developing new strategies
    -granting license to new “free-diving” business
    -approach of the commissioner towards the business community to increase minimum wage by 20%. The business community agreed. Reason is to increase the old age pensions. Holland only increased the MW by about 6%

  4. Drs René Caderius van Veen

    Comments on the issues raised by “Saba Guru”
    1. “Complete overhaul of the SCS in 2012, including new court yard, new curriculum outlines for all subjects”,
    COMMENT: This was initiated by the Dutch government
    2. “the complete renovation of the “leather factory” now a state of the art technical department for the MBO students”
    COMMENT: This was a nonesensical investment: professional old machines “disappeared”, new lower quality came in place and the renovated buiding is hardly been used because there are no classes
    3. “The preparations for the renovation of the SHS and SCS coming from the 8 million dollars you mentioned”
    COMMENT: There was no 8 million dollars and again all initiatives came from the Dutch government
    4. “The plans for purchasing the property in front of the SCS to build a state of the art daycare and kindergarten, also coming from the 8 million dollars you mentioned”
    COMMENT: Nothing has been realised, apart from the fact that fro an educational point of view several recommendations to create a school-garden have not been followed
    5. “The Cove Bay project, where a playground has been constructed, an artificial white sand beach has been created and the sea water pool has been improved”
    COMMENT: The Cove Bay beach is a good initiative, the investment in all the equipment fort hat playground was non-sense and is hardly ever used and was not a clever investment. Parents and children are coming for the beach and for swimming, not fort hat playground.
    Positive however is the sand of the beach, the wall in the water and very much so the opening of the toilets and showers every day.
    6. “A very positive and professional relationship has been developed with the various Dutch ministries resulting in having respect from European Netherlands for Saba”
    COMMENT: The Dutch politicians are too polite to express their real judgments. Wait the evaluation.
    7. “Upgrading of street lights in the Bottom and The Windwardside”
    COMMENT: That was definitely a good initiative, but again this is an initiative from Bruce Zagers as far as I know
    (Shortened by Editor)

  5. Drs René Caderius van Veen

    Comments on “Other positives” listed by Hassell:
    1. “Renovating the park in The Bottom (not finished, but its looking nice)”;
    COMMENT: Seen from a cultural historical point of view, it is more a horrible amount of concrete than a park
    2. “Low income homes built in The Range and Under the Hill”;
    COMMENT: OK
    3. “The building behind the Post Office is being renovated for the SABARC and Saba Lace ladies to use”;
    COMMENT: OK
    4. “Day Care Center was renovated and an extra room, I believe, was added to it”;
    COMMENT: OK, unless it was more demanded for by the Dutch government than an initiative from local government
    5. “The Government Admin. building was renovated”;
    COMMENT: ?
    6. “The gymnasium on St. Johns and SCS have been renovated in the past few years”;
    COMMENT: A demand from the Dutch Ministery and financed by them?
    7. “Putting a youth employment program in place”
    COMMENT: An initiative from Saba Reach?

  6. Drs René Caderius van Veen

    Comments on the list of Wolfgang
    “There are too many to mention. But here a few more”:

    “-set up of the E-Team with shareholders (CoC, SMA, SBA, Dep. of Economic Affairs, Dep. of Tourism, government)”
    COMMENT: OK. Was this an initiative from a Commissioner or from others?
    “-working together on the now published development plan”
    COMMENT: OK, what was the role and input of the Commissioner?
    “-creating of an investment brochure”
    COMMENT: OK, what was the role and input of the Commissioner?
    “-common objections of the E-Team concerning the increase in work permit fees and taxes (ABB for 2016)
    Meeting in Statia with all business support organizations, CBI, CoC, Statia government, Saba government and signing of a memorandum of understanding to address together economic development”
    COMMENT: OK, what was the role and input of the Commissioner?
    “-meeting with the E-Team and the evaluation committee, addressing concerns about the tax structure and many other problems that need to be chanced.”
    COMMENT: OK, what was the role and input of the Commissioner?
    “-working with the Tourism Committee on adverting Saba and developing new strategies”
    COMMENT: OK, what was the role and input of the Commissioner?
    “-granting license to new “free-diving” business”
    COMMENT: OK, what was the role and input of the Commissioner?
    “-approach of the commissioner towards the business community to increase minimum wage by 20%. The business community agreed. Reason is to increase the old age pensions. Holland only increased the MW by about 6%”
    COMMENT: OK

    • The commissioner was involved in all kinds of ways and he was involved in the set up of many of the things mentioned. Thank god the commissioner and we don’t need your approval for things we are doing for Saba on an almost daily basis.
      (Shortened by Editor)

  7. With elections at our back door let it be said that this is the first election where so many proxies has entereing.
    I was made to understand that that between 110-120 proxies was turned over. Curious minds would like to know how this is possible? Was it done in a rightful manner or were the proxies stolen from their rightful owners?

    On a tiny island like Saba that is shocking. It makes you wonder if persons were indeed paid and paid handsomely or tricked or forced or threatened to hand over there proxies. Yes proxies were given to both parties however how unfortunate that only those at the respective voting centers will get the juicy inside look in to who got whose proxies (wish I was a fly on that wall).

    Needless to say I cry shame on certain individuals to see the role some played in accumulating proxies. Never in my dreams who I have imagined people who supposedly are of stature in our community would bend over backwards like they did for proxies. People that call themselves Christians having to stoop to fighting to get proxies for their own is far from my understanding. Where is your faith? If you believe in the Almighty you won’t have to go after proxies now would you?. I am disappointed in some. No name no blame. Tomorrow march 18 2015 will tell its own tale.

  8. A short response to René’s comments
    1. You are wrong. This was an initiative taken by the task force under leadership of Commissioner Johnson. OCW paid the upgrading of the playground. The executive council paid for all other renovations.
    2.You are wrong again. Most machines were outdated and did not function anymore. The renovation of the building was needed in ordr to boost the MBO/TVET program. Your statement of hardly being used is absolutely a joke and a lie since everyday students study there.
    3. You are wrong again. It was the government of Saba who asked OCW for financial support in order to renovate the school buildings. Koos van der Steenhoven (OCW) promised in public to get 8 million dollars for the upgrading of the schools as long as the government could get the location organized.
    4. You are wrong again. Architects have designed the new daycare and kindergarten. Negotiations are taking place to by the property of the various owners.
    5. You are wrong again. The playground is used very often by young and old. But maybe you believe this is non-sense because children should not have that opportunity.
    6. You are wrong again and should be ashamed to talk about dutch politicians this way. Very arrogant and colonial thinking.

    Saba Guru
    (Shortened by editor)

  9. The renovation of St. Johns gymnasium that I am talking about, I do not believe was ‘demanded’ by the Dutch government.

    And I do not believe the programme I am talking about is through Saba Reach. The one I am mentioning is the one that a man named/called Gino works with. However, perhaps Saba Reach is over it.

    You say that the Dutch Ministry has financed many things, however doesn’t most money come from the Dutch Ministry? Our government has to know what to apply for and budget for from the money provided by the Dutch Ministry.

    While the park in The Bottom may have more concrete, I believe once it is completed it will be beneficial to children and families.

    I disagree about the play ground at Cove Bay. As a parent, and know many other parents, our children enjoy the play ground as well as the beach.

  10. Drs René Caderius van Veen

    All priority for improving education and facilities for education was a priority of the Dutch government.
    The machines have been taken care of all the time that they were not used and the judgment about the wrong choice is from Henk Bontenbal himself.
    Etc. etc.

  11. Here you are wrong again. It was the task force who decided which changes needed to take place to bring the SCS to a higher level. This is all documented in the growth document, developed by the task force. Based on this document, the Dutch Government provided the finances to upgrade the playground.
    Regarding the machines; you don’t teach students in 2012 with machines from just after the war. A textbook from 1950 is no longer used in class. New technical and electronic developments have created more advanced machines which are used in workshops all over the world. This called movin along with progression.

  12. Elections are over., what a relief!
    congrats to all the candidates. congrats to wipm with their 3 seats and slp with 2 seats.
    Overjoyed for Ishmael. Indeed wipm won, however it is victory for Ishmael and his party.who would have thought Ezzie could get 2 seats.
    Hope changes come within the day to day running of our deputies. with changes I think it is so not fair against all civil servants how some civil servants get to play the role as commissioner #3 you. how many commissioners is there? is it 2 elected and voted in or 2 voted in and elected and one who appointed themselves?. a few civil servants have more privileges over others and so does some public works employees. who is favored and gets it all.
    GIS doing as he pleases nah so wrong. we shall see what remains as is and what they dare to change. give time her time.

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