Minister Schouten invests in social workplace and service provision on St. Eustatius

Minister Carola Schouten, during her visit to St. Eustatius, promised to work structurally on increasing labour market opportunities for everyone and to strengthen the services around poverty and debts.

Minister Schouten op Sint Eustatius

Tackling the problem of poverty and reducing the distance to the labour market are two of Minister Schouten's core tasks. During her first visit to St. Eustatius as Minister for Poverty Policy, Participation and Pensions, she took immediate action. At the request of Government Commissioner Alida Francis, she promised to make additional investments in job opportunities for people with a distance to the labour market. Together with the Public Entity, a pilot will be launched to open the first social workplace on the island.

Minister Schouten: "Too many people are still unfairly excluded because of a labour disability, while they would like to and can add great value on the labour market. That is why we are going to use the pilot to give people with a distance to the labour market the opportunity to participate to the best of their ability."

Strengthening services

During the discussions with the Island Council, the representative of the Central Dialogue St. Eustatius and discussions with residents during the visits to the out-of-school care facilities and the New Challenges Foundation, the issue of poverty on the island was also frequently mentioned. Minister Schouten is taking steps to strengthen local service provision. For instance, there will be a budget for vocational training courses for two employees of the Public Entity for professional guidance of people living in poverty. They can also work on debt prevention.

The Minister also offered the Central Dialogue St. Eustatius, in which local government and social partners are united, extra support where needed. "The number of people living in poverty here is alarming. This requires a thorough and above all joint approach. It is important that national and local government reinforce each other. The wishes for this from the Central Dialogue will be discussed in the short-term."

Later this week, after completing her working visit to the entire Caribbean Netherlands, Minister Schouten will announce what further investments will be made on the islands in the short term.