State Secretary of Social Affairs and Labour, Jetta Klijnsma, is visiting the Caribbean Netherlands this week.
Her first stop is Saba where she held talks with the Executive Council, Island Council, employers in the private sector and important social partners on Monday. Both the Executive Council and private sector explained that the greatest challenge Saba is facing regards economic development.
Klijnsma explained that the reference point for social security is linked to the minimum age. She further emphasized that the minimum wage has already increased by an extra 13% these past two years. She also expects a substantial extra increase in the coming year. \
The State Secretary highlighted that while steps are small she does believe some progress was made. She mentions for example the implementation of the Special Assistance programme in 2014 followed by the General Assistance programme in 2015 and this year the implementation of Child Allowance for all children in the Caribbean Netherlands under 18 years old.
State Secretary Klijnsma is making an appeal to all parents in The Caribbean Netherlands to register for the child allowance which has gone into effect January 2016. ”Each parent on Saba has a right to this allowance of $42, – per child per month. It is important that you make use of this benefit”.
Other stakeholders to shed light on the social conditions on Saba included a representative of the Centre for Youth & Family, Saba Health Care Foundation, and Centre for Psychiatric Care & Addictions, Sacred Heart Primary School, Saba Boys & Girls Scout Afterschool Programme, the Job Programme and RCN Unit of Social Affairs and Labour.
Klijnsma and delegation are scheduled to travel to St. Eustatius on Tuesday for similar talks with the Public Entity and important stakeholders regarding the social situation of that island. The delegation travels to Bonaire on Wednesday.
Press release RCN.