Updated: Nov 15
SABA - In a significant move towards political reform and digital transformation, the Public Entity Saba hosted a delegation on Tuesday, October 31st led by Director General Arne van Hout. The delegation, including policy advisor Erlène Knoopers, policy coordinator Arne Bartelsman, and legal advisor Barbera Veltkamp, initiated in constructive dialogue with the Island Council, Executive Council, Census, and Legal.
Central to the agenda were proposed amendments to the political landscape of Saba, including an increase in the number of island council members, enhanced transparency regarding political party financing, voting, and subsidies. These changes come in tandem with the digitalization initiatives propelled by State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen earlier in the year.
During talk with the delegation, the Island Council highlighted a pressing issue – the need to bridge the information gap between The Hague and Public Entities here in the Caribbean. The conversation underscored the essential need for a communication framework that ensures that Sabans are well-informed and integral to the decision-making processes affecting their future.
Discussions furthered with the Executive Council that included conversing on the local challenges of the proposed legislative changes, particularly the WolBES and its implications for increasing the number of Council Members' as well as their employment status if currently working for the Public Entity when elected.
The delegation’s visit however was not confined to the courtroom. They had the opportunity to tour the site for the new portion of the hospital, a welcome advance to further the healthcare facilities for the local community as well as the current hospital.
Diving into what makes Saba unique, the delegation had the pleasure of a cultural immersion as they were greeted at the Saba Heritage Center by Sharifa Balfour. The Heritage Center stands as a bastion of Saban culture, preserving the island's history and traditions.
Continuing on the visit, the delegation met with Sarah Van der Horn and Justin Simmons. They showcased the current reforestation project and the Hydroponics Farm discussing the projects and its efforts in attaining food security and sustainability.
To experience Director General Arne van Hout's thoughts on his visit to Saba, we invite you to view the recorded statement. The video, accessible below, offers an intimate glimpse into the collaborative spirit that defined this visit.