Dear people of Saba,
Having been on the Island Council as elected member since April 2019, I am very pleased to address this New Year’s message to you all via Social Media.
Looking back at the year 2019, I believe that we can all conclude that it was a very turbulent year. Although we were spared of hurricanes, numerous Saban families had their ups and downs. The loss of property by fire, the loss of many lives of Sabans, young and old put a mark on 2019 and made many grieve in their own way.
With the birth of new Saban inhabitants, the future looks as bright as ever. The accomplishments of Sabans participating in Calypso contests, race track racings, sports like volley ball and football, DJ competitions, fishing tournaments and many others, shows us that despite some criticism, Saba is on the role and profiles itself as a modern, active, bubbling island where the sky is the limit.
The last nine months have been a very interesting learning curve for myself, where I got exposed to numerous political situations. Often interesting and constructive. Sometimes questionable and on the edge and unfortunately sometimes negative, incorrect and selfish. It has taught me to be alert, well informed and prepared and most of all to be honest and transparent with having the general interest of Saba at heart.
I learned that you can write many documents, speak a lot of words and pretend to have the best at heart, but if your actions are not geared to your goals, it is all smoke up in the air. I can proudly say that all my actions over the last nine months have been taken based on clear goal setting and serious considerations by myself.
In May I had to convince the Island Council to meet with the ZVK management in Bonaire in order to discuss health care issues. As a result of this meeting and the compiled document that I published on Facebook in June, the State Secretary took immediate action.
I have written numerous letters to the Executive Council asking for clarification on issues like the Artisan Foundation, the youth policy, the Johan Cruyff Court, a culture policy, a detailed report on the After Irma reconstruction, wild goats on Saba, the care of neglected citizens and education.
The entire Island Council made a very strong gesture by walking out of the Island Council Meeting in November, protesting against the incidental finances compared with the structural finances. I fully supported this move and believe that we as Government, should be all responsible for our own actions if it comes to general or individual spending of Government monies.
I have attended most Island Council meetings, orientation meetings, meetings and visits with experts from abroad, except for those when I was in hospital. I traveled to Bonaire to meet with ZVK management, I was privileged to be invited to attend the Statia Day and the annual VNG congress in June in The Netherlands. All trips were paid by the Island Council Budget and can be justified as work related.
I have been critical to fellow Island Council members and Executive Council members, but always in a fair way since I believe that men can only achieve the next level by adhering to a professional attitude where respect, honesty and being modest is in place.
Besides all this, I was elected this year to represent the Saba Fishing Association as their president which I honor very much. I also helped over 14 businesses this year with applying for a micro credit loan from Qredits. These extra positions are based on a voluntary bases and I am privileged to do so.
It has been a busy 9 months where, like I said before, I learned a lot and enjoyed every minute of it being able to represent and fight with Saba’s interest at heart. With closing the book for 2019, it doesn’t mean that only new chapters will start in 2020. There are still many issues unsolved and not discussed, like the dump problem, education, the recreational park, elderly care, traffic ordinance etc. They will continue to be brought to the table in 2020. Ofcourse the most important one will be the ongoing discussion on salaries, benefits, cost of living and the general economy of Saba. Although it is a natural habit to point to Government first, and expect their input and responsibility, I believe that this issue needs to be tackled in a much wider sense with support from labor unions, NGO’s, businesses, private enterprises, and Federal Government. This year I will have this issue high on my agenda and I can promise you that it will not be by words alone like others. I will strive for actions resulting in a better economy for Saba, resulting in a brighter future for each individual and business.
With having said this, I hope to have given you an Idea of my functioning during the last 9 months and how I see the year 2020 as a challenge for all of us where we can improve and win as long as we are working together, achieving together.
In closing, let me wish each and everyone a very prosperous, healthy and fantastic New Year. I hope that with God’s blessing we can all witness a bright 2020.