On Thursday, Members of the Second Chamber Committee for Kingdom Relations have opened the attack on the bureaucratic way in which the Central Government deals with Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba in strikingly firm terms, This was done during a general consultation of the Commission with the secretaries of state Raymond Knops of Kingdom Relations, Tamara van Ark of Social Affairs and Employment and Mona Keijzer of economic affairs and climate.
André Bosman (VVD) is of the opinion that The Hague treats the islands too much from a European perspective: ,, The approach is too technical considering and too many legal aspects. There is insufficient room for an human approach, ” he concluded.
Ronald van Raak (SP):,, cooperation is inefficient due to complicated rules and the stubbornness of the civil service at the ministries that are increasingly interfering with the islands without achieving visibly better results. ” As far as he is concerned, the RCN (‘ A terrible cost and complication ‘) should be closed and, instead of 10 ministries, only one administrative person should be responsible for the relations with the administrations in the Caribbean Netherlands. Other Committee members also advocated fewer rules and less fragmentation and strengthening of the coordinating role of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom relations.
Although Knops is of the opinion that coordination is already improving, the debate exposed that there are still a significant number of issues. He could not or did not want to answer many of the questions of the Commission because they affected the portfolios of other ministers. Knops indicated that he awaits the Council of State’s advice later this year for improving the cooperation between the Central Government and the public entities. The coordinating role of BZK will be part of this, but also the position of RCN.
Saba has been without a dentist for years and therefore the Sabans have to go to St. Maarten for dental care. Only the return flight already costs over 200 USD! A dentist on St. Maarten is prepared to regularly attend an office on Saba and wants to use the available treatment area. However, the Ministry of Public Health does not allow this. The dental treatment facilities on Saba are the property of the Central Government and, as a consequence, may not be used by a private dentist. ,, Insane “, said van Raak, expressing the feelings of the Commission.
Antje Diertens (D66), Nevin Özütok (GreenLeft), Attje Kuiken (PvdA) and Joba van den Berg (CDA) emphasized in their speeches the need to reduce the cost of living. They reflected the high rates of energy and food prices. They also requested a reduction in Internet and banking charges. Van Raak requested: facilitate that residents of the Caribbean Netherlands get access to internet banking from Dutch banks.