The Commissioner of Finance and Infrastructure, Bruce Zagers, and Island Secretary Tim Muller will be in The Hague for the next two weeks to discuss this year’s plans of the Public Entity and address longer term issues once more in the relevant Ministries.
Central themes of the visit will be: poverty alleviation, costs of living, costs of doing business, economic development, further development of a strong and financially healthy local government, the division of tasks, and infrastructural developments. The Commissioner and Island Secretary will also discuss the hurricane recovery funds made available by the Ministry of Finance for necessary repairs on the island.
A theme which will highlight the majority of the meetings will be the eradication of poverty. Commissioner Zagers stated that, “The study which is ongoing to determine the social minimum is of utmost importance, but it is equally important to start the discussion about measures that can be created to bring a balance between the cost of living and the ability to have a dignified way of life.” The outcome of the social minimum study is expected around the summer.
With regards to infrastructure, some large projects are ongoing or will start soon. The extension of the water pipeline system and the installation of a bottling plant for good quality and affordable drinking water are expected to be realized this year. Additionally, plans are being made for rebuilding the secondary breakwater in the harbor, which was destroyed by hurricane Maria. Plans are also being developed for improvement of waste management and further development of the harbor area. The delegation from Saba hopes to receive approval and support for different infrastructural developments after consultation with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.
Commissioner Zagers is optimistic about the visit to the Netherlands. “I expect fruitful meetings with the different Ministries and with the various politicians. It will be a busy two weeks that will hopefully conclude with some agreements between the local and national governments that will contribute to the continued development of Saba.”