The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights believes that the government should do more to “significantly” reduce the cost of living in the Caribbean Netherlands. The Board has written to State Secretary Van Huffelen and her fellow ministers involved.
The widespread, structural poverty on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba cannot be solved by increasing the minimum wage and benefits, writes the College. “The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights is pleased with the steps that the government has recently taken towards achieving a social minimum in the Caribbean Netherlands”, but this does not guarantee “the right to a decent standard of living.”
“It is necessary to start the measures for reducing the cost of living as soon as possible. Projects that are part of the measures are simply not realized overnight. Building affordable housing and setting up a well-running public transport system are time-consuming improvements from which the citizens in the Caribbean Netherlands will only be able to actually reap the benefits at a later date,” according to the College.
In 2010, the successive Rutte cabinets opted for a two-track policy to tackle poverty on the islands: gradually increasing incomes and, in parallel, structurally reducing costs. The first is only being done seriously by the current government, but the second is still not being implemented.
In today’s two-minute debate on the social domain in the Caribbean Netherlands, Member of Parliament Jorien Wuite (D66) asked for a “concrete package” to reduce costs. Roelien Kamminga (VVD) also urged more attention to reduce costs. State Secretary Van Hufffelen said where the cabinet has an influence on the costs, she and her colleagues are committed to reducing them.