Finance Department Head Maureen Hassell-Van der Kaap (second left) and Community Development Department Head Rosa Johnson-Hassell (second right) with Ron Crijns (left) and Marcel Daniëls (right) of The Hague University of Applied Sciences.
Community Development Department Head Rosa Johnson-Hassell (left) visited the National Government Department for Culture and Heritage RCE in Utrecht.
THE HAGUE--A delegation from the public entity Saba visited the Netherlands October 2-10 to have meetings about the social domain that covered topics such as poverty eradication, school buildings, culture funding, the Social Support Act WMO, Saba Reach Foundation, training and development, education, monuments and heritage.
The meetings took place at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment; the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science; the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations; the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport; The Hague University of Applied Sciences; the Royal Library; the National Government Department for Culture and Heritage RCE; and Delft University of Technology.
The delegation was made up of Commissioner Bruce Zagers, Finance Department Head Maureen Hassell-Van der Kaap, Community Development Department Head Rosa Johnson-Hassell, and Senior Policy Advisor Nicole Johnson.
At the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, the delegation discussed establishing the social minimum for the Caribbean Netherlands; the increase in the social benefits as of January 1, 2024; the visit of caretaker Dutch Minister of Poverty Policy, Participation and Pensions Carola Schouten; the continuation of the energy poverty allowance; employment opportunities; and strengthening Saba Reach Foundation.
The intention is to strengthen the Saba government’s poverty policy, the public entity Saba said in a press release on Friday. It said the poverty policy’s focal points are balance of life, employment opportunities, participation, as well as a more structural approach and tailor-made solutions.
At the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the funding for the construction of a new school gym was discussed. This initiative is in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science as part of investments in the school environment.
The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport expressed commitment to continue funding for after-school activities and the domestic violence project, it was stated in the press release.
“Also, we had positive discussions about working towards a more structural solution for overhead capacity at the Community Development Department,” said Johnson-Hassell.
“Public entity Saba has been advocating to organise funding in such a way that there is one special grant per ministry instead of multiple special grants, which will reduce the additional burden for the local administration,” said the public entity.
At the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Saba delegation talked about finding mutual ways to move forward with the new school buildings that comply with the local building code.
“The public entity and the Ministry of OCW [Education, Culture and Science – Ed.] are working on a covenant for school housing which will soon be signed, with continued support for Sacred Heart School (SHS) phase 2 and the new technical school,” according to the press release.
Other topics discussed at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science included culture education and participation, and the new Culture Policy Plan of the public entity Saba.
“Funding is available through several culture funds, for which Saba was offered assistance to apply,” said the public entity.
The Slavery Past Commemoration Year was discussed with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, and the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations.
Some members of the Saba delegation visited the Royal Library. Archiving was discussed, according to the press release, as well as new regulations for libraries and continued support for Saba’s Queen Wilhelmina Library.
A range of topics were covered in a visit to the RCE in Utrecht, such as Saba’s Cultural Policy Plan, the island ordinance for monuments, support for the monuments list, maritime heritage and archiving local heritage collections.
During the discussion at The Hague University of Applied Sciences, the delegation delved into training and development requirements for the public entity’s Finance Department. This initiative is a joint project led by The Hague University of Applied Sciences and the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations.
“The meeting at [The Hague University of Applied Sciences] not only explored possibilities for enhancing the Finance Department’s capabilities, but also shed light on the potential to provide additional training opportunities for various other departments, encompassing areas such as project management, budget management, and grant proposal writing,” according to the press release.
At Delft University of Technology, the delegation met with architecture students who will be coming to Saba for eight weeks in November to research how Saba can become more sustainable using local materials.