The Island Council left Saba Sunday morning, April 9 for training on Bonaire.
For three days, the four Island Council Members will participate in an introductory course about the functioning of the Island Council and the role of the members. While on Bonaire, the Island Council will also meet with the management of the Care and Youth Caribbean Netherlands (ZJCN) to talk about healthcare, particularly the medical referral system and the medical care abroad for Saba clients. This is the first working trip of the new Island Council since its installation on March 29.
For Island Council Member Saskia Matthew of the Party for Progress, Equality, and Prosperity (PEP), this is the first working visit abroad since her swearing-in. She said she looked forward to the training in Bonaire. “This training is important and necessary. This is what you need to do at the beginning of a new term of the Island Council. I am ready to start working for the people. I am looking forward to new things, things that we never had before in the Island Council,” said Matthew.
For Elsa Peterson of the Windward Islands People’s Movement (WIPM), this is also her first working visit as a new Island Council Member. “I am going with a very open mind. I am curious to see if my conception of the functioning of the Island Council is right. I’m enthusiastic and excited. This will be our first time working together as a new Island Council. The training is important and needed. You never know enough and you can always learn,” said Peterson.
Island Council member Vito Charles (WIPM) already did a course being part of the previous Island Council, but he emphasized that this training for the new Island Council was very valuable. “This time it’s important, especially for the new members to learn how to move forward, so everyone understands how to use the tools and how to use them effectively. It is important that we do this training early on so we are better equipped,” said Charles.
Island Council Member Hemmie van Xanten (PEP) said that he took part in a training during his term in the previous Island Council. That training was in May 2022, which Van Xanten said was rather late. “That training should have been 3 years earlier. I pushed to have the training done much earlier this time, right at the start of the new Island Council term, so everyone gets completely informed about the functioning of the Island Council,” he said.
The Island Council returns to Saba on Friday, April 14. Acting Island Council Registrar Devi van Groningen is part of the delegation.