The Representative of the Kingdom reports
In accordance with the agreements made on the subject by the Minister of the
Interior and Kingdom Relations with the Lower House, the Kingdom Representative
for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba shall report every half year on the activities of the
National Government in the Caribbean Netherlands. The first report is largely
dominated by the transition. During and in the first months after this historic event the
office of Kingdom Representative was taken over by the director of Kingdom
Relations of the Ministry of the Interior.
A new start
The transition of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba from the Antillean to the Dutch
polity is a fact. The historical date of October 10, 2010 marks the new beginning that
these three islands make, as part of the Netherlands. The transition itself went well.
There were no major technical problems at this change of systems. Thanks to the
close cooperation between the governments and officials of the three islands and the
National Government, the government departments were generally well prepared to
serve the citizens on October 11th. The introduction of the dollar as legal tender
(instead of the Antillean guilder) did not cause any technical problems for the flow of
Hesitations about the new structure
That from a technical perspective, the transition of the three islands went fairly
smoothly does not mean that the Bonaireans, Statians and Sabans have embraced
the new constitutional structure in their hearts. Often heard are the complaints about
the loss of the own identity and culture, the influx of Dutch nationals from Western
Europe and the fear of having less and less to say about the comings and goings on
the own island. The general feeling can be characterized as: “Too much has
changed, in too short a period of time.” The confidence in the new future as part of
the Netherlands is tender and vulnerable.
It is an important mandate for the Kingdom Representative to strengthen and, if
necessary, restore this trust. For most of the residents of the Caribbean Netherlands,
the direct bond with the Netherlands currently is an abstract concept that represents
new laws and rules. There is an important task to convert this legal bond into an
emotional bond by strengthening the connection between the European and
Caribbean part of the Netherlands socially, economically and culturally. To the firm
conviction of the Kingdom Representative this task is a joint one: only through close
cooperation can the residents and officials of the islands and the European part of
the Netherlands create this new bond.
Legislation and Regulations of the Caribbean Netherlands
The new laws that entered into force for the Caribbean Netherlands were mostly
based on the Antillean National Ordinances such as those in effect before 10.10.10.
On a number of policy areas completely new legislation and regulations did enter into
force. Examples are the taxes, social security and education.
The public entities have expressly pointed out to the Kingdom Representative that
due to the simultaneous introduction of the new laws an accumulation of new rules
was created resulting in a significant increase of the (administrative) burdens for the
citizens and business of the islands. They also point out that some of the regulations
do not take the local circumstances on the Caribbean islands sufficiently into
account. As an example they mention the (draft) environmental legislation for the
Caribbean Netherlands that demands a signficant change in behavior from the
residents and businesses and a strong supervision by the island government, while
the environmental department of the public entity on the biggest of the three islands
consists of only a few individuals. The public entities are also of the opinion that the
new tax laws drive up the costs of living, for example due to the increase of the
excise duties on gasoline (also see: Special considerations).
Together with the public entities, the Kingdom Representative is of the opinion that
the burden of implementing the new regulations for the islands has been
underestimated in a number of cases in The Hague. In the future, it must be avoided
that the wish of The Hague to realize changes quickly will result in European
Netherlands regulations being used as blueprints for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and
Saba. Due to the small scale of Bonaire (16,000 residents) and particularly St.
Eustatius (3,600 residents) and Saba (1,800 residents) and their isolated location,
the usual assumptions on the implementation of policy do not apply. The small
communities can absorb new developments at a less quick pace than those on the
European mainland and the cultural differences are significant
To get earlier and better insight in the implementation of policy in the Caribbean
Netherlands, several options are conceivable. The current article 209 of the Public
Entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba Act (WolBES) regulates the consultation of
the island governments as part of the preparation of new legislation. Feasibility plays
an important role in this. However, serious substance must be given to this
consultation. Island Governments must be granted sufficient time to study proposals
carefully and must be substantively supported. Otherwise, the quality of the
consultation cannot be guaranteed. It is therefore reasonable to consider, in case of
new policy with a significant impact on the Caribbean Netherlands, including in the
script for the legislation that the responsible Ministry set up an implementation test
that is attached to the proposed bill. In this implementation test the governments of
the islands and the Kingdom Representative can give their views on the practical
implications of the new rules on the local situation in the Caribbean Netherlands. The
Ministry is thus obliged to give due consideration to the local implementation of new
rules. An implementation test is common practice in other policy areas such as
economic zoning policy. That way the legislator gets timely insight in the practical
implementation of the new rules. The permament committee for Kingdom Relations
of the Upper House recently raised the possibility of a „BES impact report‟.
Cooperation between the National and public entities governments
An important statutory duty of the Kingdom Representative regards the promotion of
cooperation between the National Government and the governments of the public
The National Government, which replaced the Government of the Netherlands
Antilles, is of course a new concept on the three islands. However, under the
umbrella of „Rijskdienst Caribisch Nederlands‟ (RCN), the blue logo of the Kingdom
has quickly become a familiar sight on the streets.
In general, the cooperation between the National Government and the public entities
can be considered good. There are not only intensive contacts on governmental
level, staff from the departments of the National Government and those of the public
entities consult with each other in many areas. In terms of employment conditions for
the civil servants the National Government and public entity operate jointly. On
almost all policy areas National Government officials share their knowledge with
colleagues of the island governments in concrete projects. The introduction of the
National Government thus also encompasses a boost for the local government.
Caution is called for to avoid that, in the perception of citizens, a gap is created
between the accommodation and facilities of the RCN departments and those of the
island governments. Since the RCN departments could make a fresh start, they have
modern facilities at their disposal while the local governments oftentimes must work
with outdated housing and equipment. This could create the impression that
resources are unlimited at the National Government while the local government
comes off worst.
The governments of the public entities have emphatically indicated over the past few
months that in certain areas of policy the implementation of new legislation is not
going smoothly. In accordance with his statutory duty, the Kingdom Representative
has consulted with the Ministries concerned about these bottlenecks and reported his
findings. This concerns the following issues:
1. The islands indicate that the free benefit has been set too low. This benefit is
comparable with the benefit the municipalities receive each year from the
municipal fund. For example, the benefit would contain insufficient funds for
the necessary maintenance of the roads, buildings and ports. They also point
out that the free benefit allows for insufficient budgetary room for personnel
costs. During the governmental consultation of April last, the islands made
agreements with the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations about the
level of the free benefit.
2. The introduction of the tax system for the Caribbean Netherlands raises a lot
of resistance, particularly on the Windward Islands St. Eustatius and Saba.
The new tax rules entered into force on January 1st of this year while they
had been adopted by the Upper House just two weeks prior. This gave the
citizens and businesses an extremely short time to prepare which put
pressure on due care.
3. The population of the three islands must get used to the new healthcare
insurance. Because there are few care providers working on the small
islands, medical treatment often requires travel to and stay on another island.
The rules for such medical treatments abroad have changed with the
introduction of the general healthcare insurance for all residents of the
Caribbean Netherlands. The new rules and their implementation, led to
complaints especially during the initial phase.
4. Calculations show that a proportion of the residents entitled to pension of the
Caribbean Netherlands had to deal with a decline in the net disposable
income after 10.10.10. Although this is not the case for all retirees, this
situation is absolutely at odds with the commitment made by the Netherlands
that retirees in general would not experience any adverse effects of the
transition from the country Netherlands Antilles to the Netherlands. The
departments that are most involved are holding consultations on this situation.
It is applicable to all these bottlenecks, that a quick solution is desired. It must be
avoided that the impression is created that the Netherlands does not or only partially
keep its promise that the level of amenities on the islands would increase after
10.10.10. The Kingdom Representative pleads for a swift handling of implementation
issues when these are detected. The most important points of attention mentioned in
this report are in the work area of the National Government. It is therefore obvious
that the Ministry on whose area a problem arises should take action on the matter.
Also in case of a bottleneck of which the solution requires an interdepartmental
approach, the Kingdom Representative pleads for a proactive coordination and
approach by the departments involved. The question is how such proactive approach
relates to the legislative restraint that should be taken into account during the first five
years after the transition date of 10-10-10.
A point of attention of a more general nature regards the civil administrations of the
three islands. The civil service organizations still have an old fashioned structure and
require urgent modernization. There are a large number of departments, causing the
management to become fragmented and little result-oriented work to be done. In
addition, in the past the staff was not able to get sufficient additional training with a
lack of expertise as a result. If the civil service organizations of the public entities
wish to properly be able to implement the challenges they face, they will have to set
up their work processes in a more efficient and customer friendly way. The Ministry of
the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK) has indeed made the financial resources
available for the improvement of the organizations and a social safety net for the staff
members, but the implementation progresses slowly.
Results governmental consultation of March 31, 2011
On March 31, the first governmental consultation on BES financial relations took
place in The Hague, whereby the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations is
accountable as the fund manager for the public entities.
Agreements were made with the islands on the rules of engagement for the
governmental consultation and about the amount of the 2011free benefit. The BES-
fund will be indexed for 2012 and beyond. It was further agreed that an independent
research firm will set up a frame of reference. This should lead to a clear and
practical workable framework, whereby a total amount is attached to the list of tasks
that the islands are supposed to carry out. The public entities will be involved in this
In the margin of the governmental consultation, agreements were made with a
number of line ministries on specific subject matters. The results of the governmental
consultation on financial relations and the consultations with the line ministries have
been recorded in a joint list of agreements.
Looking back at the first half year that the Caribbean Netherlands have a Kingdom
Representative, some considerations are applicable for the office of the Kingdom
Representative as well. It has sometimes proven to be challenging to persuade the
departments to reach uniformity of policy and implementation. The WolBES indeed
instructs the Kingdom Representative to promote cooperation between the Ministries
in the Caribbean Netherlands but the law does not give the Kingdom Representative
final authority. This has resulted in the coordination between departments being less
than optimal in a number of cases. After a visit to the Caribbean Netherlands, a
delegation of the Upper House noted that the coordination of National policy is
insufficient which leads to uncertainty and unrest among the population. The
Kingdom Representative shares these concerns. The lack of final authority poses a
problem. How this can be solved should be considered.
Hereinafter, the Ministries will indicate what developments are occurring in their
areas of policy and which milestones have been reached. The „Rijksdienst Caribisch
Nederland‟, the management organization of the departments in the Caribbean
Netherlands will also be discussed. The office of the Kingdom Representative will be
examined as well.
The Kingdom Representative
On 10.10.10 the first Kingdom Representative took office. This representative of the
National Government is the governmental link between the State and the public
entities. He promotes the cooperation between the Ministries in the Netherlands and
the governments and Executive Councils on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. In
some cases the Kingdom Representatives has a coordinating role. Thus, it has been
agreed upon between departments that he will speak with the Nustar Oil terminal, on
behalf of the Ministries concerned, about the expansion plans of said company, in
order to guarantee the environmental and spatial planning aspects. He also ensures
a good coordination between the Ministries themselves, for example about
unanticipated effects of the introduction of certain social security and tax legislation.
In the field of electricity supply on St. Eustatius and Saba the Kingdom
Representative, on behalf of the Ministry of EL&I (Economic Affairs, Agriculture and
Innovation) consulted with the two islands in order to determine a joint point of view.
Moreover, the Kingdom Representative has various responsibilities in the field of
higher supervision. He is in charge of the assessment of decisions of the public
entities in terms of good governance. This then concerns for example the
appointment, suspension and dismissal of island officials. In practice, the islands
have presented about one hundred decisions to the Kingdom Representative.
Upon recommendation of the Kingdom Representative decisions of the public entities
can be annulled by the Minister. Furthermore, some island ordinances must be
approved by the Kingdom Representative before these can enter into force.
Crisis management and disaster relief
As of 10-10-10 the BES Security Act has entered into force. Based on this law,
governmental bodies such as Lieutenant Governors, Executive Councils and also the
Kingdom Representative must, for the execution of their statutory duties, set up on a
short term, plans and risk profiles for the prevention and relief of disasters and crisis
situations. The Kingdom Representative must among others prepare a plan for the
coordinated deployment of services and organizations when controlling a disaster or
crisis of supra insular significance. The Executive Councils among others prepare
disaster and crisis plans with a description of the organization, the responsibilities,
the tasks and the powers within the framework of the disaster relief and crisis
management. The expertise and capacity to write these plans is insufficiently present
on the islands and at the office of the Kingdom Representative therefore it is not
possible to comply in a timely manner with the statutory obligations. The Ministry of
Security and Justice has offered support. The recently published report of the
Investigative Safety Board on the crash of a small airliner off the coast of Bonaire in
2009, confirms the necessity of an adequately organized relief based on up-to-date
plans for disaster relief.
The Kingdom Representative is an autonomous governmental body with its own
powers that he exercises under the responsibility of the Minister of the Interior and
Kingdom Relations or of another Minister, depending on the corresponding authority.
Between October 11, 2010 and May 1, 2011 the director of Kingdom Relations of the
Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations acted as the deputy Kingdom
The office of the Kingdom Representative
The Kingdom Representative is supported by an office for the execution of his tasks.
This bureau consists of policy assistants stationed on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and
Saba. The Secretary of the Kingdom Representative directs the bureau.
The staff members are the „eyes and ears‟ of the Kingdom Representative. They do
not only maintain close contacts with the government officials and public officials of
the public entities, but also with entrepreneurs and representatives of social
organizations on the islands. They bridge the gap between the government of the
Western European part of the Netherlands and that of the Caribbean.
The required expansion of the office in connection with the statutory duties of the
Kingdom Representative will be realized shortly.
Ministry of Finance
Start Tax Department/Caribbean Netherlands
As of 10-10-2010 the Tax Department/Caribbean Netherlands (B/CN) is operational.
On the same date, the Director-General Tax Department NL became administratively
responsible for the Tax Department on Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius. B/CN was
created from the merger of ten former National and Island departments of the
Netherlands Antilles. The formation of 92 FTEs has almost fully been completed from
the influx of local departments and locally recruited staff. The management team is
All managers and staff have participated in introductory sessions in anticipation of the
transition. At said sessions the envisioned operation of the organization was
discussed: external and collaboration oriented, service, easy and simple, process
and risk-oriented and with attention for personal development. On 01-01-2011, B/CN
introduced the dollar as currency in the systems.
As of the transition date B/CN executes the collection and recovery tasks of the local
levies from Bonaire and Saba. On St. Eustatius as of yet this is limited to the
employment of the bailiff for the enforced recovery.
The new tax system: information and implementation
The introduction of the new tax legislation and regulations for Bonaire, St. Eustatius
and Saba took place on 01-01-201. The tax legislation of the Netherlands Antilles
remained in effect during the period 10-10-2010 to 01-01-2011.
On December 14, 2010 the new tax legislation was adopted after discussion in the
Upper House. Immediately following the conclusion of the debate on the legislative
proposals in the Lower House (October 2010) the external information was started
subject to the outcome of the deliberations in the Upper House. Through full page
ads, brochures per tax category, information sessions and radio and TV-spots,
publicity was given to the new system.
As of 10-10-2010 the website www.belastingdienst-cn.nl is accessible. Brochures
and forms can be downloaded from the site.
The new tax rules are experienced as extensive and very complex by the local
entrepreneurs, especially now that other Ministries simultaneously have also had
new regulations enter into effect.
Client oriented approach
At the introduction of the new system it is intended to do this as simple as possible
and to keep the administrative burden for entrepreneurs as low as possible. Prior to
the transition, entrepreneurs still had to visit a counter of the tax department 36 times
on a yearly basis because departments were housed in different buildings and were
organized separately. Now this only has to happen four times: one visit per quarter,
at one counter. The first session of the customer panel for entrepreneurs will start
For the income tax a strongly simplified tax return form was developed as of the fiscal
year 2010: from 24 to 8 pages (bilingual). B/CN offers – up to an income bracket of $
39.000 – assistance when completing the tax return.
Processes and systems
The start of the B/CN and the introduction of a new fiscal system will bring
adjustment of the current and setup of new processes. The required tax and customs
applications were modified or constructed respectively, or will be so in the near
future. Forms were designed or renewed. Simplicity is the key in this. The
„Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland‟ (RCN) is used for the technical infrastructure.
On November 29, 2010 the B/CN opened the doors of the new tax building on
Bonaire. The information centers opened in June 2009 on Saba and St. Eustatius
have been completely transformed into full fledged tax buildings since the transition
date. Temporary housing has been realized in the ports of Saba and St. Eustatius for
customs (together with the KMar or Royal Military Constabulary), to be able to
perform the statutory duties per 01-01-2011.
Continued development in 2011
In 2011, the B/CN is aimed among others at further professionalization of the service,
completion of the introduction of the tax system, development and implementation of
processes and systems, education and training of executives and staff and
strengthening of the managerial and control cycle.
Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation (EL&I)
Setup EL&I-unit within the RCN
As a result of the merger of the Ministries of LNV (Agriculture, Nature and Food
Quality) and EZ (Economic Affairs) to one Ministry of EL&I, one EL&I unit was also
created within the „Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland‟. The unit consists of one head,
one policy advisor economic affairs, one coordinator of nature and one policy advisor
for agriculture, livestock and fisheries.
Upon initiative of the Ministry of EL&I a special edition of the magazine Change was
published, in both Dutch and English, on 10-10-10 in the year of biodiversity. This
magazine shows the impressive wealth of nature on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba
and also shows the opportunities and threats for humans and animals in the by now
Caribbean part of the Netherlands.
The Ministry also has been working since the last quarter of last year on a
comprehensive and integrated communication plan that will be implemented after the
Soon a study on the improvement of the electricity grid will be started – this also with
the prospect of feeding sustainable electricity from wind and sun into the grid. It has
been agreed upon with energy supplier WEB on Bonaire that this energy (generated
from solar panels, installed on the roof of a newly to be built secondary school on
Bonaire), will feed into the grid. This project was partly funded by the Ministry of
The Ministry also will commission research in the first quarter on the practical
possibilities of geothermal energy generation (Saba) and the installation of a
hurricane resistant wind turbine (St. Eustatius).
Upon request of the island governments of St. Eustatius and Saba and the
government of St. Maarten, the Ministry of EL&I had an investigation conducted on
the alleged cross subsidizing within the electricity company GEBE. With the
assistance of an external advisor the Ministry has in addition started a mediation
initiative with the objective to reach consensus about the ownership relations within
GEBE in order to safeguard a proper energy supply on St. Eustatius and Saba.
Furthermore, the Ministry of EL&I (during the governmental consultation of March
30th last) agreed with these two island that they will phrase a joint proposal for the
division of GEBE and will grant the Kingdom Representative mandate to enter into
agreements on this matter with the government of St. Maarten.
Telecommunications and Postal Service
The Telecom Agency (AT) is responsible for the implementation and the monitoring
of the BES Telecommunications Act and the BES Postal Services Act. The duties
laid down at the OPTA in the Netherlands (among others mail, numbers), have been
temporarily assigned to the AT. The AT has entered into a service agreement for 2
years with Bureau Telecom and Post in Curaçao (BT&P) for the actual execution of
the statutory duties. BT&P has a front office in Bonaire and a back office in Curaçao.
For telecommunications the policy objective of EL&I is to consolidate the situation on
10-10-10- over the next three to five years. The first few years will be used to take
inventory of the needs on the islands in order to implement improvements where
necessary. In time, the introduction of (parts of) the Telecommunications Act is
foreseen. Besides taking inventory and the going concern, AT is committed on the
short term to the reduction of the administrative burdens for entrepreneurs when
obtaining an authorization or concession.
The quality of mail delivery in the Caribbean Netherlands has room for improvement.
This was already the case when the Netherlands Antilles still existed. The Ministry of
EL&I has made agreements with the Nieuwe Post NV, established in Curaçao, about
the implementation of improvements in the quality of mail delivery. In this context, it is
considered among others whether the introduction of ZIP codes is feasible. Concrete
quality improvements must be made in 2011. On the occasion of the transition
„Nieuwe Post‟ issued new stamps marked Caribbean Netherlands.
To foster the business climate
The Chamber of Commerce on Bonaire has been renewed. In addition, a joint
Chamber has been setup for St. Eustatius and Saba with public offices on both
islands. The Executive Councils of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba appointed
temporary board members for the Chambers of Commerce in 2010. At the end of
2011 the elections for a new board will be organized. The current boards, supported
by the Ministry of EL&I, have started with the set up and restructuring of the
The setup of a sound Commercial Registry for the Caribbean Netherlands had been
a priority from the beginning. The Chambers on the Windward and Leeward Islands,
with the support of the Curaçao Chamber of Commerce, have technically equipped
the IT-systems for the Commercial Registry on the three islands and filled them with
up-to-date data. These actions are not yet fully completed. Considering the fact that
from St. Maarten no data were kept for St. Eustatius and Saba prior to the transition
and that on Bonaire an outdated system was in place, this is a labor intensive matter.
Another priority was housing. At the beginning of 2011, the Bonaire CoC was housed
in a new office where entrepreneurs can be better assisted. On both St. Eustatius
and Saba the public office is open five days a week from 09:00 hours to 13:00 hours.
In 2011, the Chambers of Commerce will also start giving information on the fields of
entrepreneurship and innovation; they will be assisted by the AgentschapNL.
The Chambers play a prioritizing roll, for example in the dialogue with the Tax
Department about the feasibility of implementation of laws and regulations for
entrepreneurs. Finally, they help mobilize local knowledge for innovative
entrepreneurs and promote cooperation among SME-entrepreneurs.
Since the entering into effect of the BES Establishment of Businesses Act,
applications for a business license shall only be decided upon on economic grounds
as included in the law. The Chambers of Commerce have an advisory role. Moratoria
have expired. There is an ongoing dialogue with the three Executive Councils about
the proper implementation of the BES Establishment of Businesses Act. The Minister
of EL&I has provided the island government of Saba pointers in order to overcome
issues the island government faces in the proper application of the law. The
Executive Councils of the other two islands have also received a letter from the
Minister explaining how the law must be applied.
Market forces and market regulation
The Ministry of EL&I commissioned research on the market forces on Bonaire, St.
Eustatius and Saba. This study has been completed in the meantime. The findings
and the analysis will lead to a policy stance on sector regulation and supervision of
Furthermore, research was conducted during the first quarter of 2011 aimed at the
improvement of the business climate on St. Eustatius. The Ministry of EL&I also
funds during six months the appointment of a Head Economic Affairs at the Public
Entity St. Eustatius.
With the Curaçao Weights and Measures Department there are ongoing talks about
the temporary continuation of its activities on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. In the
next few months choices must be made regarding the organization of Weights and
Measures activities in the mid-term.
The Ministry of EL&I recently commissioned the Dutch Bureau of Tourism and
Conventions (NBTC) to support the Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba Tourism
Bureaus in obtaining insight in the developments in the Dutch vacation market, the
further improvement of the image of the islands and the development of a strategic
Central Bureau of Statistics
As of October 10, 2010 the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) is responsible for the
statistical program of the Caribbean Netherlands. Since then the CBS has already
published some statistics about the Caribbean Netherlands. On October 11, 2010,
also the World Statistics Day, a statistic was published in which the consumer prices
on St. Eustatius and Saba were compared to those on Bonaire. The average price of
daily groceries and other household expenditures is 8 percent higher on Saba than
on Bonaire. On St. Eustatius this is 2 percent. In addition a statistic on the import,
export and the trade balance of Bonaire was published.
This year the CBS will execute the Statistical Program. Statistics that are published
are among others about prices (CPI), the population development, industry (tourism
and transport) and healthcare. The price development will be published on a
Management plan exclusive economic zone
In 2010, in cooperation with the islands of the Caribbean Netherlands, Aruba,
Curacao, St. Maarten and the IMARES Institute of the Wageningen University, the
drafting of a management plan for the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) was further
worked on. This plan is aimed at the protection of the rich marine biodiversity and
sustainable fisheries. Special attention is thereby given to the Saba bank. Active
management will be launched as soon as possible. In anticipation thereof the State
Secretary for EL&I, based on the BES Principles of Nature Management and
Conservation Act, designated the Saba bank as a protected area as of December 15,
2010. The appointment among others results in anchoring no longer being permitted
on the Saba bank.
At the end of 2010 the three islands of the Caribbean Netherlands agreed to jointly
implement the management plan for the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
In November 2010, the report “Climate change effects on the biodiversity of the BES
Islands” by the Alterra and Imares institutes (Wageningen University) was published.
The report was prepared upon commission of the Ministry of EL&I. It describes the
consequences of climate change and the possible adaptation strategies for the three
islands of the Caribbean Netherlands.
Monitoring biodiversity and fisheries
Both on land and in water, the islands have a high biodiversity that should be
protected stemming from various international conventions. Global factors such as
climate change and local conditions such as tourism and fisheries are of influence on
this. At the end of 2010, the Ministry of EL&I in cooperation with the islands began
setting up a monitoring system for possible changes in this biodiversity.
Nature Policy Plan
Based on the BES Principles of Nature Management Act, the Ministry of EL&I must
prepare the 2012-2017 Nature Policy Plan together with the islands.
As a starting point the evaluation of the old nature policy plan of the former
Netherlands Antilles will be used. The new plan will be completed by mid 2011.
In 2011, the project “New jobs and sustainable agriculture” was launched on Bonaire.
On St. Eustatius the „Dienst Landelijk Gebied‟ (DLG) – Rural Area Service - will
commission a study on the economic feasibility of sustainable agriculture.
The EL&I-unit at the RCN participates in two task forces of the Specially Protected
Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) protocol, instituted in October 2010. These are task
forces that establish guidelines for the protection of special areas and for the animals
living in nature and plants. The policy coordinator Nature of the EL&I-unit is the
chairman of one of these task forces.
Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment
Aviation, meteorology and seismology
About the continuity of the air traffic control, meteorological and seismological service
further agreements were made for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba with the countries
of Curaçao and St. Maarten over the past half year.
The renovation of the Bonaire International Airport runway started in February 2011
and will be ready in the summer of 2011.
The Inspectorate of Transport, Public Works and Water Management has started
instituting Port State Control (the banning of ships that do not meet international
requirements). Over the past half year 30 vessels were subjected to an inspection.
The majority does not meet all the international safety and environmental regulations.
One must think in terms of the state of maintenance, qualifications of the staff and
loading of tankers. In three cases the inspectorate imposed a prohibition to leave
Transportation of hazardous materials
Concerning the transportation of hazardous substances multiple trainings were given
to the business community and governments of the Caribbean Netherlands.
Moreover, the first outlines were developed for a hazardous materials platform which
focuses on knowledge management and the improvement of safety.
I&M has entered in to the license process (including the enforcement thereof) for the
big oil terminals BOPEC on Bonaire and NuStar on St. Eustatius. The draft
environmental permit for NuStar is ready. It is the intention that both environmental
permits enter into force on January 1, 2012. In addition, I&M coordinates the advising
of the Kingdom Representative who on behalf of the National Government consults
with NuStar about the intended expansion. National Water Management is in
consultation with both oil terminals about the licenses they require based on the BES
Maritime Management Act.
Incidents at sea
On responding to incidents at sea agreements have been made with the local
authorities (Harbor Masters) and the Caribbean Coast Guard. The agreements deal
with the reporting of incidents, the coordination among the authorities and the
responding. Moreover, I&M listed the risks in the field of maritime incident response.
At the governmental consultation with the three islands of April 1st, I&M offered to
conduct a risk assessment and an inventory of the response capacity for each of the
public entities for the drafting of disaster relief plans in the territorial sea and in the
exclusive economic zone.
The waste streams on Bonaire have been identified and an initial policy frame work
has been prepared. The Fundashon Mariadal Hospital on Bonaire will purchase a
small oven for the incineration of infectious hospital waste. Waste oil will from now on
be transported to Curaçao for processing. On St. Eustatius and Saba partial a
division and separation of waste will start (financed out of the Social Economic
In 2010 an investigation was done on the presence of asbestos on the islands of the
Caribbean Netherlands. The investigation revealed that many asbestos-containing
materials are present in homes (50%) on Bonaire. On St. Eustatius and Saba far less
asbestos-containing materials were applied.
In cooperation with the islands, an exploratory soil survey is conducted, to determine
the current state of contamination of the soil. In case of a possible unacceptable
pollution, the required measures will be indicated. Bonaire also initiated a program on
sustainable soil management in which matters such as agriculture and erosion are
included. On St. Eustatius a study was started that specifically regards erosion.
In cooperation with the Caribbean Water Association (CWA) I&M works towards a
sustainable water management system for the islands. All elements of the water
chain (rain water, potable water, sea water and waste water) are linked together. In
the long term this can yield advantages for the islands.
On St. Eustatius the public entity started the construction of a potable water supply
system (with funds from the European Development Fund). When this project is
completed in the spring of 2012, 80% of the population will be provided with running
The first waste water purification plant (AWZI) on Bonaire is ready and will start
operating in April. In the meantime the preparation of the site for the sewage water
purification plant (RWZI) and the installation of vacuum wells for the sewage were
started. There is no arrangement yet for the operation of both purification plants and
the connection of the houses and businesses to the new sewage grid. In September
2010, the Island Territory of Bonaire (now public entity) signed a financing agreement
for permanent water purification. In this agreement the public entity committed itself
to arrange the operation of the water purification. Such agreements were also made
for the temporary water purification plant. Beside these agreements, the public entity
is responsible for connecting houses and businesses to the sewage grid. However,
currently the agreements and tasks for both water purification plants are not being
implemented by the public entity.
Since October 2010, Bonaire has a spatial development plan (ROB) that was
realized with funds from the Social Economic Initiative. In St. Eustatius the draft
spatial development plan (a zoning plan) is ready. The plan will be presented shortly
to the Island Council. A hearing was held for the population and the objection phase
has been completed. For the time being, Saba has not acted on the adopted Island
Ordinance on Spatial Planning. Currently, it is not considered an opportune moment
to set up a spatial development plan simultaneously with the many changes that 10-
10-10 brought along.
The current paper driver‟s license of the islands of the Caribbean Netherlands is
susceptible to fraud. The islands therefore want to improve the security of the driver‟s
licenses with support from the Netherlands. Upon receipt of a request from Bonaire,
St. Eustatius and Saba, the National Service for Road Traffic will develop a proposal
to increase the security level. Further agreements must still be made on the
Ministry of Defense
Since October 10, 2010 the „Koninklijke Marechaussee‟ (KMar) or Royal Military
Constabulary is responsible for the execution of a number of police duties in the
Caribbean Netherlands. These include among others the border patrol, the police
duties at the airports and also assisting the Caribbean Netherlands Police Force.
In the past few months the KMar has been busy with the consequences of the
introduction of the (adjusted) legislation and regulations in areas among others such
as border patrol. Currently, custom courses are being developed by the „Landelijk
Opleiding en Kenniscentrum van de Kmar‟ or the National Training and Knowledge
Center of the Royal Military Constabulary. In those programs a lot of attention will be
given to the increase of the knowledge and service level. The staff that started
working at the KMar since the transition has been trained over the past months in the
identification of false documents and IBT („Integrale Beroepsvaardigheden Training‟
or Integral Professional Skills Training).
The KMar works closely together with other government agencies. Thus, (mutual)
know how in the field of border control is shared with customs. Furthermore, there is
cooperation with the Coast Guard and –on Bonaire- with the management
organization Stinapa of the National Park. Also at the airports the KMar works
together with customs, for example in the field of drug enforcement in the Flamingo
team in Bonaire. The approach of so-called „bolletjesslikkers‟ or drug mules will
change on Bonaire. A „slikkertoilet’ or toilet for drug swallowing smugglers will be
introduced. As part of the introduction of the dollar the KMar in the Caribbean
Netherlands guarded cash stocks and transports, whereby the KMar and the
Caribbean Netherlands Police Corps mutually assisted each other in the escort of the
transport and the performance of extra surveillance on the streets.
Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport
In anticipation of the transition date of October 10, 2010, the Ministry of Health,
Welfare and Sport (VWS) launched various projects in the past few years in order to
improve the range of care on the BES islands. In addition, as of January 1, 2011,
VWS introduced one (public law) healthcare insurance that gives all residents an
equal right to medical and long term care.
Improving the range of healthcare offered
Last year the restructuring and improvement of the healthcare options on Bonaire, St.
Eustatius and Saba was worked on. The (small) hospitals of St. Eustatius and Saba
were privatized and the number of basic specialties within the hospital of Bonaire
was expanded. In addition, investments were made in the medical infrastructure
(buildings, equipment and ambulances) and in the training for the staff with VWS-
In the area of quality in the meantime new ambulances are in use on all islands. The
partnership with the hospitals of the VU and AMC with the Bonaire hospital has taken
shape in 2010. This partnership includes among others the basic specialist care.
These are the specialties of internal medicine, surgery, anesthesiology, gynecology,
pediatrics and psychiatry.
Over the past year provision of dialysis facilities was also worked on Bonaire. Upon
private initiative a patient association representing the interests of dialysis patients
was founded, and the setup of dialysis facilities in the Bonaire hospital was started.
The specialist back-up nephrology and the intervention radiology are arranged
through the agreement with the hospital in Curaçao.
For the (elective) super specialist care, agreements were made at the end of 2010
and the beginning of 2011 with the hospitals of Curaçao and Aruba for the Leeward
Islands and with the hospitals of St. Maarten and the French island of Guadeloupe
for the Windward Islands. The implementation of acute care was included.
In the field of pharmaceutical care on the islands, the increase of the efficiency was
continued in 2010. It was considered how the contracting of the care providers
concerned can be facilitated by improving (and reducing the costs of) the purchasing
and organization of the provision of medicines. Of course the change of the
prescription practices of the doctors is also of importance in this matter.
Since 2009, a psychiatrist is available on Bonaire, for the time being by continuing
the activities of the existing partnership in Curaçao and as of April by stationing a
permanent psychiatrist from the twinning of VU/AMC. For Saba and St. Eustatius the
cooperation with the partnership Curaçao will be continued. In 2010 work was also
undertaken on the improvement of the addiction care on the islands and the in-
patient and emergency commitments.
BES Healthcare Insurance
The old public and private healthcare insurances of the Netherlands Antilles were
replaced on January 1, 2011 by one public insurance for medical and AWBZ-care.
The Healthcare Insurance Office started operations on the same date. The office is in
charge of the implementation of the new healthcare insurance. As such, it is
responsible for the purchase of the care that about 20,000 insured are entitled to, the
keeping of an insured administration, information to the insured and care providers
and matters such as the support of the insured in case of a medical treatment abroad
to care providers outside the islands of the Caribbean Netherlands. Combating fraud
is also a task of the Healthcare Insurance Office.
In the first months of 2011 the Healthcare Insurance Office had start-up problems.
The implementation of the insurance was not easy for the Care Office or the citizens
of the three islands. Thus, a lot of attention was given during the first months to the
implementation regulations and the information to the public. All in all, the
introduction went pretty well. Of course, some situations occurred that could have
The implementation issues were caused by the necessary getting used to by the
parties involved with the new system, by a not yet fully automated process support
and an initially not optimally functioning information provision. The Healthcare
Insurance Office has solved the problems through intensive guidance of the primary
care providers, through good cooperation with the hospitals and by showing flexibility
when paying compensations to the insured that were sent abroad for medical
treatment. In addition, explanations were given regularly in the media.
The telephone communications (helpdesk) towards the insured is not fully optimal yet
due to insufficient technical options in the telephone switchboard. A solution is being
sought for this.
The purchase of care went reasonably diligent in the first months. In the first quarter
of 2011, contracts were entered into with a great number of care providers. The
organization „Fundashon Mariadal‟ in Bonaire is an important contract partner to
enter into extensive cooperation with. Thus, by mid-2011 Bonaire too will offer
dialysis facilities to kidney patients. This prevents having to send these patients off to
The medical dispatches of patients to other islands for a medical treatment have
special attention. Transportation between the islands and the stay of the patient on
another island has been regulated in the first months of 2011. A matter of attention is
the large number of dispatches.
All in all, the first quarter of 2011 went fairly satisfactory for the Healthcare Insurance
Office. The office is now focusing on the improvement of the internal organization,
the management of the care contracts and the communication towards the insured.
Status Public Health, GHOR and implementation IHR
The „Publieke Gezondheid (PG)‟ or Public Health and by extension thereof the
„Geneeskundige Hulpverlening bij Ongevallen en Rampen (GHOR)‟ or Medical
Assistance in case of Accidents and Disasters, does not comply on all three islands
with the Dutch legislation (Public Health Act). Improvement is imperative. The islands
have indicated that they need assistance from the Netherlands in order to be able to
perform the public health duties. If the PG and GHOR must be brought to a higher
standard then permanent cooperation between the islands and a Dutch GGD is
necessary. In the mean time, the choice has been made for the The Hague GGD.
As for infectious disease control, in 2007 the Netherlands signed the International
Health Regulations (IHR) of the WHO for the entire Kingdom, thus including the
Caribbean Netherlands and the Caribbean countries within our Kingdom. An
important part thereof is the obligation to setup a so-called focal point for reports of
infectious diseases in the Kingdom.
Youth and Family
With the new cabinet taking office there no longer is a Minister for Youth and Family.
The youth policy has become part of the Ministry of VWS. Youth protection is the
responsibility of the Ministry of Justice. For each island a tailor made plan has been
prepared in which the following four elements were included: a Center for Youth and
Family, options for positive leisure activities, youth care and youth protection. During
the course of 2009 and 2010, about 30 additional staff were recruited, where possible
with and Antillean background, for the implementation of the plans.
Centers for Youth and Family
On both St. Eustatius and Saba, Youth and Family Centers were opened, in which
(due to the small scale) almost all youth functions are combined, from youth
healthcare to youth care and youth protection. The Centers are living room type of
drop-in centers where parents and youth can come with all their questions. The next
step is the further development and anchoring of the service provision in the island
society. Investments are also made in the expansion of options for positive leisure
On February 21, 2011, an agreement was signed on Bonaire between VWS, the
Public Entity Bonaire and four foundations that together will form the Youth and
Family Center. To this end VWS, through the RCN, rented the Princess Plaza
Building that is being suited to house the Youth and Family Center, the youth care
and the family supervision in the fall.
In terms of youth care a team of ambulatory support is operational on Bonaire. The
first guesthouse (Kas di Karko) is open.
One methodology for all islands
In order to work from one methodology on all islands, the Triple P is implemented
everywhere, an internationally proven effective approach to parenting support. The
choice was also made for one registration system for all youth organizations, namely
„JeugdlinQ‟. In February 2011 the first phase of the implementation of this system
was carried out on all three islands.
Bonaire Labor market boost
On Bonaire a „labor market boost‟ is given by giving the opportunity to 20 local youth
workers to further educate themselves through dual learning to HBO-level in the firld
of social-educational assistance. This is done by the „Christelijke Hogeschool Ede‟.
Ministry of Security and Justice
Police Force Caribbean Netherlands
The regional recruitment campaign for new officers that was initiated in August 2010
has ended in the meantime. There was less enthusiasm than expected in the
Caribbean region for certain positions but from the European part of the Netherlands
there actually was interest. This resulted in at least eight European-Netherlands
police officers who will transfer to the Caribbean Netherlands Police Force against
local employment conditions. In addition, eleven 11 more aspiring - officers will
complete their general police training in Curaçao and 8 candidates will start mid-year
with a general police training developed in the Netherlands for the Caribbean
The Investigation Department remains severely understaffed. Temporary support
from the Netherlands is necessary. The support of five to six detectives for a period
of two to three years has been promised.
The management positions of the force have all been filled. The strength of the force
currently is 72.3%, including the aspiring officers. This means that of the almost 165
positions, 119 are filled. On the investigation department the staffing is 38%. At
Intake, Information and OST it is 51%. At the basic police care almost all positions
The agreement was to add the staff members of the Kmar to the police in addition to
the staff establishment during the first three years after founding the new corps.
Considering the recruitment and training process of the police, this cannot happen for
the time being.
The ambition of the Caribbean Netherlands Police Force is to be a corps with a high
degree of mobility. This promotes the steady development of the corps and ensures
independent investigation and enforcement. In the current employment conditions of
the police there are no adequate deployment conditions included. This deserves
The corps is in the process of preparing a multi-year training plan which is intended
to eliminate the training backlog and to bring in new knowledge within the force.
Considering the understaffing and the costs the courses will entail, the programs are
spread over several years.
Legislation and regulation
Due to the speed with which the new legislation and regulations entered into force in
the Caribbean Netherlands, the police fell behind knowledge-wise. Options are being
sought to bring the police as soon as possible up to the required level of knowledge.
Equipment and uniform
Together with the police forces in Curaçao and St. Maarten a task force was
established that will inform the respective Ministers on the equipment of the police
such as a new service weapon.
As for the uniform, the Caribbean Netherlands Police Force will adjust as much as
possible to fit the uniform of the Dutch police. The wishes of the staff, the
exchangeability with other forces and the already determined regulation will be
leading in this matter. The new uniform is expected to be introduced before year‟s
end within the KPCN.
The service vehicles are equipped with the emblems of the Dutch police.
The new construction and renovations of the police stations that were already started
before 10-10-2010 are experiencing delays because after 10-10-10 other building
codes are applied. These building codes lead to the building costs resulting higher
than budgeted. Consequently, budget deficits arose. This has resulted among others
in the completion of the new wing of the police station in Kralendijk not being
initiated. Due to the lack of space in that police station, space is rented elsewhere.
Since March 8, 2011, the police cells on Bonaire have been transferred to the
responsibility of the Caribbean Netherlands Custodial Institution in Bonaire. These
cells meet the requirements. The police cells on St. Eustatius and Saba will be
adjusted with priority in order to also comply with the norms as well. Currently,
detainees are being held only in very exceptional cases in the police cells on Saba
and then only for the maximum duration of one night. The detainees are transferred
as much as possible to St. Eustatius.
Police year plan
The police works in accordance with the year plan coordinated with the Police Force
Manager, the Public Prosecution Office and the Lieutenant Governors. It is clear that
not all that one would have wanted can be realized in 2011. This is partly due to the
lack of funds and partly to the understaffing.
The police are awaiting a secure mail environment. Therefore, they are still using the
old network of the former Netherlands Antilles or private e-mail addresses. The
rollout is taking longer than expected due to the security requirements. The
operational process systems currently in use within the police are assessed on
effectiveness together with the police forces of Curaçao, St. Maarten and Aruba.
The BES Public Prosecution Office
The Public Prosecution Office was expanded in September 2010 with a policy
assistant, in November with a Public Prosecutor for Bonaire and as of January 1,
2011 with a 0.5 FTE Public Prosecutor for Saba and St. Eustatius. Also as of January
1, 2011 an additional senior-public prosecutor‟s secretary was hired.
New housing on Bonaire for this expanded Public Prosecution Office is under
development in cooperation with the „Rijksgebouwendienst‟ or Governmental
Buildings Agency. Relocation is planned for September 2011. The housing of the
Public Prosecution Office on Saba and St. Eustatius is also being renovated.
The Caribbean Netherlands Custodial Institution (DJI)
The renovation of the Remand Prison on Bonaire and the increase of the existing
capacity have been realized. On December 2, 2010 the Caribbean Netherlands
Custodial Institution was opened in the presence of the Director-General prevention,
youth protection and sanctions and the Chief Executive DJI.
The staff has been recruited; they were offered a course and an extensive training. It
is clear that on the job and on the spot training by experienced staff members is
For the setup of a medical department in the institution a nurse has been recruited;
also service level agreements were entered into with a general practitioner, a
psychiatrist, a psychologist, a dentist and a physical therapist. A day program is in
place that takes the different groups of inmates into account.
The preparations by the Governmental Buildings Agency and the DJI to realize cells
on St. Eustatius have begun. The intention is aimed at starting to use this capacity by
the beginning of 2013.
The Guardianship Councils on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba
Officially there are still three Guardianship Councils. In mutual consultation it was
decided to work with one director as of January 1, 2011 who is responsible for all
three islands. The staffing is at full strength. The Guardianship Council in Bonaire is
performing properly and serves as an example for the execution of the duties by the
Guardianship Councils on the Windward Islands.
Besides the existing activities of the Guardianship Councils, since June 2010 the
juvenile probation activities are also implemented on Bonaire. The Guardianship
Council on Bonaire recruited a staff member to this end. In close consultation with
the Public Prosecution Office, three intervention models were developed by him: the
HALT-settlement, the prosecutor‟s model and the judge‟s model, aimed at
responding to light, medium and serious crimes.
As of March 15th, these intervention options are also offered on Saba and St.
Eustatius. The Guardianship Council and the „Stichting Reclassering Caribisch
Nederland‟ or Caribbean Netherlands Probation Service jointly send 1FTE as of said
date to the Windward Islands.
The Caribbean Netherlands Probation Service
The staffing of the Caribbean Netherlands Probation Service is at full strength.
The foundation currently operates under a Supervisory Board model. The by-laws
were amended to that end. At the beginning of December a cooperation agreement
was signed between the Caribbean Netherlands Probation Service and the „Stichting
Reclassering Nederland‟ or Dutch Probation Service. The Caribbean Netherlands
Probation Service has examined whether it is possible to have electronic monitoring
using GPS. This proposal is now being assessed by the Ministry of Security and
As of March 15, 2011 probation activities are also being developed on St. Eustatius
and Saba: early care intervention, preparation of information reports, offering
assistance and support, setting up work projects to perform community service and
offering training orders, including anger management training.
As of March 15th, the family supervision is at full strength. Up to January 1, 2011
there were still two employees, in the mean time there are five. It is therefore a young
organization. On Saba and St. Eustatius child protection measures are implemented
by the Youth and Family Center.
Free legal aid
Over the last half year the procedure regarding free legal aid has been developed
and implemented. In broad outline: the citizens of the islands of the Caribbean
Netherlands who believe they are eligible for free legal aid can contact the
„Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland‟ with the request to qualify for this facility. The
request is assessed within the RCN. In case of a positive outcome the citizen
receives a “free legal aid card” he can go to a lawyer with. After handling the (court)
case the lawyer can submit his invoice at the RCN in a set manner.
Relations with the other countries in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom
With the policy advisors of the Ministers of Justice of St. Maarten, Curaçao and
Aruba implementation agreements were made about the setup of a single planning
and control-cycle. In the meantime, the agreements have been officially approved by
the Ministers of Curaçao and St. Maarten.
The victim care bureau of Bonaire has expressed its willingness to act as the
reporting center for possible victims of human trafficking. The implementation of this
will be taken up soon.
Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations
Public Governance and Democracy
The investigation into the budgets of the public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and
Saba was completed in September 2010 and presented to the State Secretary of
BZK. Partly based on that, the 2011 free benefit for the public entities was
determined at the beginning of October 2010.
On October 10, 2010, the chains of office of the Lieutenant Governors were
presented and the islands‟ coats of arms were also adopted by Royal Decree. Also
the first units of the new ID cards were issued that day.
The VNG has prepared various model ordinances for the islands of the Caribbean
On March 2nd last the elections for the Island Council were held for the first time in
accordance with the (new) rules of the BES Elections Act. Due to the efforts of the
public entities the elections went well.
For the supporting activities for the implementation of the „Wet openbare lichamen
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba (WolBES)‟ or Public Entities Act, Bonaire, St.
Eustatius and Saba and the „Wet financiën openbare lichamen Bonaire, Sint
Eustatius en Saba (FinBES)‟ or Public Finances Act, Bonaire, St. Eustatius and
Saba, the Action Program local government has been prepared. The VNG will
implement this action program this year and will assist the public entities with the
setup of the court registry and the setup of a joint auditor‟s office. The National
Ombudsman supports the public entities with the setup of an ombudsman function. In
addition, BZK has made additional funds (over 1.4 million euro) available to the
public entities for the implementation of the WolBES and the FinBES.
It was agreed upon with the various users of the data (PIVA-V) from the civil affairs
departments of the public entities that they will provide feedback on possible
inaccuracies, resulting in the quality of these data to get and stay in order.
From the aforementioned investigation on the budgets it became clear that the public
entities have little or no management plans for the various capital goods. The public
entities are in the process of preparing these.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND)
The IND-unit Caribbean Netherlands started on October 10, 2010 with the
implementation of the „Wet Toelating en Uitzetting (WTU)‟ or Admittance and
Expulsion Act and the „Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (RWN)‟ or the Netherlands
Nationality Act. The WTU was adopted by the Lower House until mid 2010.
The staff of the IND-unit was already recruited before the transition date and
(basically) trained. There are no technical assistants among the staff.
When performing her duties the IND utilizes the FMS-system (ICT) that had already
been introduced in the Antilles. The system has been adjusted to the Caribbean
Netherlands. Due to the late adoption of the WTU, the system was only partially
operational on 10-10-10. It wasn‟t until November 2011 that the first applications
could actually be put in the system, late December 2010 the first decisions could be
On each island there is a counter where people can come in for information and
submit an application for admittance or naturalization. The IND-unit handles the
counter function for the SZW-unit, enabling an employer to apply simultaneously with
the application for admittance for a so-called work permit for the foreign employee.
The FMS-system and digital data exchange are used in these matters, which
reduces the processing time significantly.
In the initial period the unit was confronted with a substantial stock of applications.
Especially on Saba, where the Immigration Service was responsible prior to the
transition date for the execution of the admittance applications, no cases had been
handled anymore in the last few months. Through great effort of the staff the stock of
applications in progress has been brought within the statutory decision period of six
months, therefore there are no backlogs any more. The unit aims to reduce the
processing time to six weeks.
A follow-up training of two weeks was organized for the staff members with particular
focus on understanding of the regulation and client oriented working. The service of
the IND can become more professional because of this. The training was also used
to identify bottlenecks in the implementation rules, for which amendments will be
Caribbean Netherlands Cooperation Policy
During the last few years the island were able to use funds from the programs
„Sociaal Economisch Initiatief‟ or Social Economic Initiative and „Institutionele
Versterking en Bestuurskracht‟ or Institutional Strengthening and Governance in
order to reach a healthy starting position as part of the Netherlands. Investments
were made in roads, ports, agriculture, waste management and child care.
Now that the transition is a fact, the programs in the Caribbean Netherlands have
ended. In the coming years, however, the effects of the projects will become visible
because a significant proportion of the projects are still in progress.
Ministry of Education, Culture and Science
Dutch educational system
As of October 10, 2010 the Minister of Education, Culture and Science is responsible
for the education policy on the islands. This means that the schools in the Caribbean
Netherlands are part of the educational system of the Netherlands. Students get the
opportunity to obtain a diploma that is equivalent to a diploma issued in the European
Quality of education must increase
The objective is that in 2016 the quality of education of the schools in the Caribbean
Netherlands is at an acceptable level according to Dutch and Caribbean standards.
An education agenda was prepared for education in the Caribbean Netherlands. This
agenda lays down agreements for the next five years on the enhancement of the
quality of education in all schools on the islands. The education agenda has been
discussed with the school boards, school managers and public entities. Subsequently
it was jointly adopted and signed during the education conference that took place on
Bonaire on March 25 and 26, 2011.
The schools now will have to live up to these ambitions. Where possible and
desirable, this happens also in conjunction with the Ministry of OCW, the public
entities and the others involved. The latter include of course the teachers and
students and their parents.
During the last few years the schools already worked hard at the improvement of the
quality of the education. Students were tested multiple times. In general, learning
performances have improved, definitely in the „funderend onderwijs‟. Many schools
are consciously working on the changes and improvements. In consultation with the
„PO-Raad‟ or PO-Council (sector organization for primary education) and „VO-Raad‟
or VO-Council (ditto, for secondary education) experienced school coaches were
recruited who give support.
With financial support from the Ministry of OCW various preconditions within the
schools have been improved, such as furniture and teaching materials. Workshops
were attended on the use of new teaching material. The „Stichting
Leerplanontwikkeling‟ or Foundation for Curriculum Development is investigating the
methods in place on the islands on suitability to reach the Dutch core objectives.
Internal counselors and care coordinators have been trained in order to identify the
need for care within the schools. The school boards and school management are
guided by a facilitator with the setup of the educational support structure. In
secondary education, the (further) development of vocational education is being
Significant steps were also made in the improvement of the housing. During the
education conference of March 25 & 26 the hard copies of the 2010-2015 education
housing were made available for the people working in education. The Public Entities
and the Netherlands are jointly investing 41.5 million dollars.
Pending the completion of these plans the following projects were already started on
on Bonaire: the new construction of the HAVO-VWO upper grades‟
department of the SGB and the preparations for the comprehensive school for
the Papa Cornes School and the Pelikaanschool
on St. Eustatius: the expansion of the Bethel Methodist School with four
additional classrooms and the tendering of the renovation of the Golden Rock
on Saba: de renovation of the former leather factory into a location for
vocational education for the Saba Comprehensive School and the
preparations for the comprehensive school in The Bottom.
Schools still have many questions about what the new education legislation exactly
means for them. They have been informed on this particularly verbally during
conversations in schools. In the meantime, there are also folders available aimed at
the people who work in education.
On January 1st the lump sum funding entered into effect. School boards are now
responsible themselves for the allocation of the national government funding granted
to them. The sum has been provisionally determined. In the spring of 2011, research
will be done on possible bottlenecks in the funding. An administrative office advises
the school boards in preparing a budget, the salary payment and gives support with
the financial, personnel and student administration.
Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment
„Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid‟ (SZW) or Social Affairs and Employment with
the RCN-unit Social Affairs took over the implementation of her tasks in the
Caribbean Netherlands as of October 10, 2010. The responsibilities of this unit are
wide ranging, varying from among others the granting of benefits to performing
The executive tasks that were assigned to the Minister of SZW in the respective laws
have been mandated to the Head RCN-unit Social Affairs. The circumstances, in
which the RCN-unit Social Affairs has had to take over the execution in the
Caribbean Netherlands, are complex. This regards, among others, the new
legislation and the setup of the implementation. This year will be an important year
for the further development of said implementation. The ICT, the development of the
staff and the information, play an important role in this matter.
AOV/AWW, loss of income benefit and welfare benefit
The „Wet algemene ouderdomsverzekering (AOV) BES‟ or the BES General Old Age
Pension Insurance Act and the „Wet algemene weduwen- en wezenverzekering BES
(AWW)‟ or the BES General Widows‟ and Orphans‟ Benefits are mostly derived from
the old National Ordinances of the Netherlands Antilles that were executed by the
„Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB) Nederlandse Antillen‟ or the Netherlands Antilles
Social Security Bank. The same applies to the „Cessantiawet BES‟ or the BES
Severance Pay Act and the „loondervingsuitkering op grond van de Wet
'ongevallenverzekering (OV) BES‟ or the loss of income benefit based on the BES
Accident Insurance Act and the „Wet ziekteverzekering (ZV) BES or the BES
Healthcare Insurance Act. For practical reasons the implementation of these laws
was outsourced to the SVB of Curaçao based on an implementation agreement for
the period from October 10, 2010 to January 1, 2011.
Since January 1, 2011 the implementation of the BES social security insurances
actually lies with the RCN-unit Social Affairs. For the welfare benefit, for which the
BES Welfare Benefit Decree is the framework, this was already the case before
October 10, 2010.
The process for the granting of the loss of income benefit has been reviewed as per
January 1, 2011 in connection with the ceasing of the insurance administration. The
sick leave process is mostly as before (role general practitioner, examining physician,
and the well known so-called yellow and white cards), but the application process is
different. The employer must submit an application in writing at the RCN-unit Social
Affairs following the end of the month in which he paid the sick employee. The
application consists of an employer‟s declaration and a pay slip of the employee
The issuance of employment permits is a new National Government task in the
Caribbean Netherlands. The „Wet arbeid vreemdelingen BES‟ or the BES Foreign
Nationals Employment Act and the „Besluit uitvoering Wet arbeid vreemdelingen
BES‟ or BES Implementation Decree on the Foreign Nationals Employment Act
based on that, are the framework in this matter. When issuing permits the availability
of local labor supply plays a role. The employer must submit a declaration from the
Island Government that the vacancy was reported to them five weeks prior to
submitting the application for the employment permit.
Labor Affairs were formerly at the corresponding department of the Netherlands
Antilles. Deciding on dismissal requests based on the „Wet beëindiging van
arbeidsovereenkomsten BES‟ or BES Termination of Employment Agreements Act is
one of the tasks in this context. Just as before, such a decision is preceded by a
decision of the Termination Advice Committee.
The inspectorate function is comparable with what the „Arbeidsinspectie‟ (AI) or
Labor Inspectorate does in the Netherlands. The RCN-unit Social affairs, has a
number of inspectors to do so. On St. Eustatius and Bonaire there are two
companies that have hazardous substances on the premises in such large quantities
that they fall within the scope of the Besluit zware ongevallen (BZO) BES or BES
Decree on Severe Accidents. The supervision on the BZO-BES does not lie with the
RCN-unit Social Affairs but with the AI Major Hazard Control (MHC) in the
The Head of the RCN-unit Social Affairs is not only responsible for the
implementation but also plays an important role as a (conversation) partner for the
governments of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba for a wide range of topics in the field
of SZW or Social Affairs and Employment. One topic of conversation is for example
the integrated approach to the socio-economic problems on the islands.
‘Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland’
The „Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland‟ (RCN) handles the employer‟s practices, the
operations and the implementation of the joint work for the Ministries in the
The HR, Finance, ICT, Facilities and Communications Departments ensure that the
Ministries are well supported in their activities. One can think of a clean and safe
workstation and well functioning PC‟s and internet connections for the staff. As well
as a swift and lawful payment of invoices that suppliers send to the Ministries. Finally,
the RCN makes sure the employer‟s practice is in place.
Managing the RCN
Regarding the management of the RCN, the Ministries and the RCN jointly looked for
a clear division of tasks, powers and responsibilities. For example regarding the
employer‟s practice. This resulted in the „governance model RCN‟ and working
agreements on the manner in which the RCN is managed. Agreements were also
made on the manner in which the costs of the central part of the RCN are shared
among the principals. This offers the RCN the basis for a good cooperation with its
principals for 2011.
The employees of the RCN try to behave in a service minded, honest, collaborative,
approachable and respectful manner towards the citizens, businesses, organization
and other authorities of the Caribbean Netherlands. Sustainable products are used
as much as possible. It is realized that working for the government poses additional
demands to the handling. The aim is that all RCN public officials take the oath or
make a solemn affirmation within two months after entry into service. The RCN
makes non-ethical behavior discussable and actively combats such behavior.
Much has been achieved
In this build-up phase, with trial and error, much has been achieved. The
departmental units and implementation agencies are (whether temporarily or not)
housed. The ICT-infrastructure is setup. The placement process of local staff has
been completed, including the transfer of personnel from the island territories and the
former Netherlands Antilles. And the RCN succeeded in paying the salaries and
policy funds of the departments (for example subsidies) on time.
But still much to do
But it has also become clear that the local circumstances in the Caribbean
Netherlands required greater efforts in some cases in order to achieve the goals set.
For example, it was not easy for the RCN to recruit local staff for all vacancies.
It also proved to be challenging to set up the basic service provision in the field of
facilities. The fact that the housing of the RCN and the departmental units and
implementation agencies are spread over three islands and dozens of locations,
leads to the costs of housing being at a higher level than usual within the National
Government in the Netherlands. Moreover, the RCN received many locations by
transfer through the property settlement from the former country of the Netherlands
Antilles. Due to lack of maintenance and the Caribbean environment the work is
performed in, the RCN required more time than previously planned to deliver safe
and clean workplaces.
New work method
The way in which the RCN presented the results changed during 2010. Initially the
RCN worked mostly on a reactive and ad hoc basis. In the last quarter the RCN was
working more and more according to the processes the RCN set up during 2010. The
RCN is not fully process-driven yet and not fully in control yet either. The RCN did
make big steps in 2010 to get its house in order. The RCN Director, therefore is
confident that the RCN will be able to issue an „in control statement‟ in 2011.