The situation of people living in poverty in the Caribbean Netherlands has not improved sufficiently. Despite earlier indications, the action being taken to reduce poverty concerns in the Caribbean Netherlands is still insufficient. The Dutch government must now take steps and come up with a total package of solutions that will help people for a longer period of time. This is the conclusion of National Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen and Ombudsman for Children Margrite Kalverboer in their report “Making ends meet” that was presented in Bonaire on Thursday and reflects on three previous studies on poverty in the Caribbean Netherlands.
For children, growing up in a family living in poverty often has a major impact on daily life and development. It causes a lot of stress for all family members and affects parenting. Many families living in poverty experience great pressure, leaving little peace, quiet and time for child-rearing. As a result, these children are more likely to drop out of school, for instance.
According to Kalverboer, “Children who grow up in poverty frequently experience multiple problems in a variety of areas. They are at greater risk of falling behind and it makes children vulnerable. This can lead to poverty being passed on from one generation to the next, which is why it is necessary for the Dutch government to actually take steps.”
The National Ombudsman and the Ombudsman for Children observed that enough is still not being done to improve the situation of people in poverty in the Caribbean Netherlands. The concerns experienced by people often go beyond money problems. Residents are also concerned about proper housing, education, healthcare and social support.
Although the Dutch government endorses the recommendations and conclusions of the Ombudsmen’s three previous reports, it is taking too long before it acts on these in a tangible way.
Van Zutphen emphasises that the solution calls for more than just monetary funds. “It is important that people are not only helped by providing more money. In addition to an acceptable social minimum, better training options for children and parents should be made available. Good and affordable housing is also important. I understand that tackling poverty is a complex matter, but the government must act now. We must ensure a positive outlook for everyone living in the Caribbean Netherlands.”
Tackling poverty in the Caribbean Netherlands requires swift action. According to the National Ombudsman and the Ombudsman for Children, previous solutions were often temporary. It is therefore important that the government now comes with sustainable solutions to break the vicious circle of poverty. Both Ombudsmen emphasise that the solutions should be developed together with the inhabitants (young and old) of the Caribbean Netherlands. In doing so, it is important to take into account the cultural differences, the small scale of the islands and the current lack of trust and confidence in the government, they conclude.
The Daily Herald.