Saba and Statia: ‘positive first year of sports collaboration’
Swimming lessons, sports clinics, training for coaches and umpires and a stronger collaboration. This is the recent outcome of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed by the governments of St. Eustatius and Saba last year thereby committing to strengthen sports on both islands.
For the last two years, St. Eustatius has supported its neighbor island Saba with providing swimming lessons. Twenty-five youngsters and adults received either their A, B, or C diploma due to this partnership. A Saban swim-coach will soon be certified with other new swim-coaches from St. Eustatius, to be able to provide swimming lessons on Saba on a regular basis.
In addition to strengthening sports on and between the two islands, a Caribbean Netherlands sports meeting was initiated to collaborate with Bonaire. These ongoing meetings will allow for consistent communication between the BES-islands and the Ministry and have already resulted in new opportunities in sports for both Saba and St. Eustatius.
Representatives of each island participated a sports inspiration week in the Netherlands, hosted by the Ministry of Health, Wellbeing and Sports in September 2021. In return, Saba and St. Eustatius have hosted visiting representatives from the Dutch Sports Federations in the areas of volleyball, soccer, basketball, base/softball, as well as the Johan Cruyff Foundation and the Ministry of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sport (VWS). During their visits the Dutch Sports Federations gave sports clinics to players and training to coaches and umpires. At the same time the local sports situation and its sports facilities were assessed. All parties are now working in close collaboration with the two islands towards a structural approach on sports.
More Opportunities in 2023
For the coming year the direction will be continued, and new developments are expected. More opportunities for athletes, coaches, and umpires on Saba and Statia will be provided to develop their skills and to positively interact with other islands and the residents.