The Public Entity Saba has decided to put in place additional support measures to contribute in the costs of the local private sector, to continue assisting vulnerable groups in the community, and to look at a one-time contribution for apartment owners losing rent.
The Executive Council has approved the local relief measures in addition to the larger support package for the Caribbean Netherlands that the Dutch Council of Ministers approved on Friday, June 19. Because the measures of The Hague do not fully encompass all private losses and all sectors, the Public Entity Saba considered it important to provide assistance where it can.
For the period April 1 up until June 30, 2020, government will look at waiving the rental fees on government owned properties for the hospitality and business sectors. Government will also look at waving the fees for business licenses, restaurant licenses and liquor licenses for the same period.
For the vulnerable groups in the Saba community, the Public Entity Saba will continue to contribute with the food vouchers for individuals and families in need. People are encouraged to get in touch with the Community Development Department in cases when assistance is needed.
Through the Community Development Department vulnerable groups that are struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic will be assisted to cover with structural costs on a case by case basis. This can include one-time support to help cover the cost of utilities and rent.
The Executive Council has approved an initiative to provide some assistance for apartment owners renting to medical students, since this group is not receiving support from the relief packages of the Dutch Government.
As part of this initiative, a survey will be initiated on empty apartments that are normally rented to medical students. Apartment owners are asked to submit information on empty apartments with proof that these apartments were rented to medical students to firstname.lastname@example.org. The apartment owners are asked to submit this information within two weeks. The deadline for the submissions is July 3.
Once the survey is complete, government will determine how a small, one-time financial compensation can be organized for apartment owners who have not received financial assistance through the Dutch Government package. Government will look at the benefits of having these apartment owners become members of the Chamber of Commerce of Saba and St. Eustatius so they can obtain financial relief in the future.
Commissioner of Finance Bruce Zagers explained that the Public Entity decided to draft and approve this local relief package, because it is important that government assists all sector in the Saba community.
“This crisis is affecting all of us and since the support package doesn’t cover all sectors and private losses, government decided to assist where it can. We must support each other where we can in this crisis,” said Zagers.
The Executive Council played a considerable role in the drafting of the larger, second support package of the Dutch Government that was approved on Friday. “For the last several weeks there have been many discussions with the various ministries where various scenarios were explored. This second package, which is a follow-up to the first package approved in March, should provide more substantial relief for the business community,” stated the Commissioner. Zagers extended gratitude to the Dutch Government and the individual ministries for their input and assistance.