SABA/THE HAGUE—The Island Council starts its two-week working visit today, Monday, June 5. The program is very diverse and will take the Island Council to meetings in The Hague and Amsterdam, attending a congress in Groningen and visiting Schiermonnikoog.
All five Island Council Members, Vito Charles, Rolando Wilson, Elsa Peterson, Saskia Matthew and Hemmie van Xanten, are partaking in this visit, as are Island Council Registrar Akilah Levenstone and Acting Island Council Registrar/Legal Advisor Devi van Groningen.
The official part of the program starts in Amsterdam on Monday, June 5 with a meeting with representatives of the National Institute for the Dutch Slavery Past and its Heritage NiNsee to talk about the slavery remembrance year, Emancipation Day July 1 and the apology of the Dutch Government.
That same Monday, the delegation meets with the coordinator for Diversity and Inclusion of the municipality Amsterdam to discuss facilitating diversity and inclusion within the government organization and within the community and how to take diversity and inclusion into consideration in decision-taking. The National Slavery Museum that will be built in Amsterdam is also on the agenda.
On Tuesday, June 6, the delegation has a meeting at the Ministry of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations (BZK) in The Hague. Also on Tuesday, the delegation has a meeting with Vice-president of the Council of State Thom de Graaf and Chairperson of the State Commissioner against Racism and Discrimination Joyce Sylvester. At the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK), the delegation will discuss the availability of funding for Saba’s economic development.
The first meeting on Wednesday, June 7, takes place the Ministry of BZK. The delegation will then go to the Second Chamber for a meeting with three permanent committees: Healthcare, Wellbeing and Sports; Interior Affairs; Kingdom Relations.
Thursday, June 8 starts with a meeting with National Coordinator for Discrimination and Racism Rabin Baldewsingh, followed by a meeting at the Ministry of Justice and Safety (JenV), where among other things the Opium Law will be discussed.
On Friday, June 9, the delegation has a citizen participation workshop, facilitated by the 7 Senses Foundation, followed by a meeting with the Island Councils of Bonaire and St. Eustatius to discuss ways to strengthen communication.
On Tuesday, June 13 and Wednesday, June 14, the delegation will attend the Annual Congress of the Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG) in Groningen. On Thursday, June 15, the delegation visits Schiermonnikoog, one of the Frisian Islands (Wadden eilanden). The program includes a presentation about ferry connections in a World Heritage Site, a welcome by Mayor Ineke van Gent, a visit to several projects and sites, and a meeting with local entrepreneurs.
On Friday, June 16, the delegation goes to the Friesland Provincial House in Leeuwarden for a presentation and talks about provincial policy on the Frisian Islands, sustainability, climate adaptation and language policy. In the evening, the delegation has been invited to an informal, interactive dinner at the Gelderland Provincial House in Arnhem by Commissioner of the King in the province Gelderland John Berends. The delegation returns to Saba on Sunday, June 18.