Today a meeting of the Island Council was scheduled to start at 2 pm. This meeting would be a follow-up to the meeting of the Central Committee that was held the previous day.
For reasons he explained in an open letter to the Chairman of the Island Council (see below), Island Council Member Mr. Hemmie van Xanten, decided not to participate in this meeting. This resulted in a situation where the meeting had to be postponed due to a lack of quorum. The meeting is now rescheduled to Thursday, December 15th at 4 pm.
The letter of Mr. Hemmie van Xanten to the Chairman of the Island Council reads as follows:
To: Chairman of the Island Council
Mr. Jonathan Johnson
The Bottom, Saba
Re: Draft budget 2023 – 2026
Saba, December 14th, 2022
Dear Mr. Chairman,
By means of this letter, I like to inform you that I will not be attending the upcoming Island Council Meeting this afternoon.
The reason for this decision is mainly based on the fact that I feel that the Draft Budget presented yesterday is not mature enough to pass the Island Council floor.
The answers I received yesterday during the Central Committee meeting on my questions are in my opinion too vague.
The Post Recreation is under budget. As I mentioned several times before, the people of Saba depend too much on the facilities created on the island since traveling has become very expensive and often people have to face the fact that recreation outside Saba is unreachable. More focus needs to be given to creating leisure recreation on the island.
The Agriculture section has been operating for years without a developed Agriculture policy. I feel that the budgeted amount is based on ad-hoc decisions. The continued investment in the hydroponic project is not reflecting the results Sabans would like to see. Therefore, more information on planning, production, and sales needs to be discussed in order to make this a success.
With regards to the Training of Civil Servants, I feel that the Draft Budget does not specify clearly the needs and necessities to improve the capacity of the Civil Servants apparatus. Also, the developed ‘functieboek’ is dormant and can not be used for function growth within the Civil Servant apparatus. In my opinion, this aspect needs to have more attention in detail in order for Civil Servants to be paid accordingly.
The proposal for especially Bureau Planning needs further elaboration since this department is crucial for the functioning of the island. The Draft Budget does not clearly describe the possibilities and the direction of this department.
The Social Domain is in need of extra support. This is not reflected in the Draft Budget either. The assumption that SZW will eventually come with additional support somewhere next year does not solve the current need. I am therefore of the opinion that the Draft Budget needs clearer set goals in order to support this domain.
Based on the above I have decided not to be present this afternoon.
On a final note, I am also very disappointed in the Executive Council for not following up with the motion of earlier this year and being more transparent. We have not received the Executive Council decision list for over three months now. This is a legal obligation and very important for the general public of Saba.