A social minimum will be introduced, derived from the statutory minimum wage on Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius. The social relief (in Dutch “onderstand”) can increase to that in steps. Measures will also be taken in order to stimulate investments and employment. With this the cabinet responds to the Spies Commission’s findings.
The Spies Commission concluded that good progress and improvements are visible in health care and education. At the same time, the Spies Commission comments and notes that many people are disappointed with the level of prosperity. Therefore, the cabinet proposes a number of targeted and specific measures to combat poverty. Those are in addition to the already existing agreements and agreements between the Netherlands and each of the three islands of the Caribbean Netherlands.
The cabinet is aware of the local conditions of the inhabitants of the Caribbean Netherlands and chooses targeted commitment to improvements and to boost socio-economic development. To improve the standards of living of vulnerable groups, the cabinet wants to establish a social minimum derived from the statutory minimum wage. In stages, the social relief (‘onderstand’ in Dutch) can increase to it.
In addition to improving the purchasing power, also the economic structure will be improved. Knowledge and expertise will be made available by the Ministry of Economic Affairs for the protection of consumers and competition. Also, the islands will have more time to implement Dutch laws and to keep some ‘Antillean’ laws in force. In consultation with the local government, the civil service will be strengthened to achieve better services to residents and businesses.
The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations is committed to improving the housing market on the islands. This should lead to the construction of more rental and owner-occupied homes. The cabinet also provides assistance to childcare on the islands and is prepared, as on Saba and St. Eustatius has been customary, to take over the responsibility for the youth care of Bonaire.
Improving the purchasing power is not only a matter for the cabinet. It requires a concerted effort by governments, companies, institution and residents on both sides of the Atlantic.