Statia’s Ubuntu Connected Front (UCF) has sent a letter to the House of Representatives Committee on Kingdom Relations to protest and ask questions about the increase in the contribution for the Chamber of Commerce of St. Eustatius and Saba as of January 1, 2022.
UCF Caribbean states that the high fees will not only hurt entrepreneurs on St. Eustatius and Saba, but also foundations. According to UCF it is extremely remarkable that the fees compare so unfavorably with those in the European Netherlands. The annual fee for a foundation in the public entities will be 160 dollars as of January 1, 2022. In the Netherlands, the annual fee is abolished since 2013, so there is no fee at all. Also, for the registration of a foundation, the differences are enormous. The registration fee in the public entities is 171 dollars. In the European Netherlands, this is only 51,30 euros. In total this will make 331 dollars in the public entities compared to 51,30 euros in the Netherlands. Seeing the fact that there are no structural notary services on the island, and people must often travel to St. Maarten for those, the costs of setting up a foundation are even further increased.
UCF Caribbean is seeing these developments as a violation of equal rights, democratic rights, and equal opportunities of the islanders. Many local foundations offer support within the community. Applying for funding at, for example the Oranjefonds or Samenwerkende Fondsen, can only be done by a legal entity like a foundation. So having a foundation is a necessity, not a luxury. Inequality within the kingdom, with salaries, AOV, allowances and benefits being lower than in the Netherlands and the costs of living and expenses for many services much higher, is further increasing. “Equality is a human right; not a privilege” is the motto of Ubuntu Connected Front. It seems that the human rights on St. Eustatius, Saba and Bonaire are once again at stake.