A delegation of the Council of State, headed by Vice-President Thom de Graaf, visited Saba on Sunday, January 8. The delegation visited several projects and met with the Island Council and the Executive Council.
The delegation arrived on the first flight and was welcomed by Island Governor Jonathan Johnson and Island Secretary Henk de Jong. The delegation consisted of Vice-President De Graaf, a Member of the Council of State of the Kingdom Mildred Schwengle, Members of the Council of State Kathalijne Buitenweg and Nico Schrijver, Secretary of the Council of State Marja Horstman and Sector Head at the Advisory Department of the Council of State Charlotte Duijff.
The visit started with a presentation about renewable energy on Saba at the offices of the Saba Electric Company (SEC) by SEC President Director David Leonce, followed by a visit to the Elmer Linzey Power Plant. In Giles Quarter, the locations for the wind turbines and additional solar panels were visited, as well as the location of the new harbor at Black Rocks. Project Manager for the new harbor at Black Rocks Mario Prak provided information about the harbor project at the location.
The delegation then visited the Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF) and the new Marine Research Lab where SCF Managing Director Kai Wulf gave a presentation about the work of SCF and the various nature projects and studies, including the sea urchin research project.
On the way from Fort Bay to the Windwardside, a stop was made at the water bottling plant Saba Splash. Saba Splash Manager Oscar van der Kaap explained the water bottling process and the importance of this project to provide healthy, safe, and affordable drinking water while reducing plastics.
Before embarking on an island tour, the delegation met with Members of the Island Council Carl Buncamper, Vito Charles, and Hemmie van Xanten at Tropics Café. The first stop during the island tour was the Botanical Garden. Wulf of SCF walked the delegation through the Botanical Garden while providing information about this project as well as the reforestation project.
The delegation visited the Hydroponics Farm where Jim Garza of Gezondheid Farms, the company that manages this project, explained the workings of the farm, the developments, and future plans. In the evening, the delegation had dinner with the Executive Council.
De Graaf said the delegation was impressed by what they saw and heard on Saba. “Some persons in our delegation visited Saba for the first time. As a delegation, we are again impressed by the initiatives that Saba takes together with the Dutch Government in areas like sustainability, energy transition, drinking water facilities, and innovative horticulture. A lot of effort is being put into this and much is accomplished with a relatively small number of people,” he stated.