More money for St. Eustatius
State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen and Central Government Commissioner Alida Francis of St. Eustatius signed the St. Eustatius Accord 2022-2023 (Afsprakenakkoord Sint Eustatius 2022-2023) on Tuesday, the 14th of June. The St. Eustatius Accord 2022-2023 contains agreements to improve the life on the islands for the residents, among others, by increasing the incomes and reducing the costs of living.
State Secretary Van Huffelen: "I am happy that we were able to sign these agreements today. It is wonderful that we can take steps that will make the lives of the people of St. Eustatius better."
Central Government Commissioner Alida Francis: "It is with an enormous feeling of gratitude that I look back on the efforts of the members of the Island Council and the Government in the Netherlands. Together with the efforts of many civil servants behind the scenes, they have made these agreements that are so good for the people of St. Eustatius possible."
From the Coalition Agreement, 30 million extra per year has been made available structurally for the Dutch Caribbean. The agreements made with St. Eustatius have a term of the 1st of July, 2022 to the 1st of July , 2023, so that after the island council elections, together with the island council and the deputies, work can begin on a new Accord for 2023 and beyond.
The Accord includes the joint priorities of the Island Council and the government commissioner. Some priorities are, for example, combating poverty, public housing, sustainable energy and economic development. One million euros is available to eliminate backlogs on the island, and the free allowance will be increased by the same amount. There is also more than 660,000 euro available to strengthen the administrative and executive power on the island.
Contents of the Accord
Welfare includes the structural increase of the incomes of the inhabitants of the Caribbean Netherlands, the reduction of the cost of living (drinking water, telecom), the investigation of the improvement of the supply of care and the modernisation of the social security system. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate will, for example, make €4.5 million available for the Caribbean Netherlands to lower the costs of drinking water until 2027.
In terms of prosperity, agreements have been made on increasing employment, commitment to regional cooperation for vocational education, strengthening the infrastructure, improving notarial and banking services, and researching sustainable air connections. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is structurally allocating €1 million for the preservation of regional cooperation in the Caribbean Netherlands to improve the connection between education and the labour market. For these topics there is cooperation with the Ministries of Finance, Justice and Security, Social Affairs and Employment and Education, Culture and Science.
The theme of circularity includes agreements on expanding capacity for a sustainable energy supply (and thus reducing energy costs), developing the sustainable agricultural sector and strategically tackling the stray cattle problem. For example, for the investment in a sustainable energy supply on St. Eustatius, €2.5 million is incidentally made available by Economic Affairs and Climate. Spatial development is also receiving attention: plans have been made to renovate and increase the number of social housing units and to protect national heritage.
Under the heading of good governance, agreements have been made about completing the updating of obsolete permits, modernising the permit application process, increasing the administrative and executive power of the civil service, improving financial management and focusing on youth participation. To this end, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations has made an additional one million euros available.