The Island Council left Saba Sunday morning, April 9 for a training on Bonaire.
For three days, the four Island Council Members will participate in an introductory course about the
functioning of the Island Council and the role of the members. While on Bonaire, the Island Council will
also meet with management of the Care and Youth Caribbean Netherlands (ZJCN) to talk about
healthcare, particularly the medical referral system and the medical care abroad for Saba clients. This is
the first working trip of the new Island Council since its installation on March 29.
For Island Council Member Saskia Matthew of the Party for Progress, Equality and Prosperity (PEP), this
is the first working visit abroad since her swearing in. She said she looked forward to the training in
Bonaire. “This training is important and necessary. This is what you need to do at the beginning of a new
term of the Island Council. I am ready to start working for the people. I am looking forward to new
things, things that we never had before in the Island Council,” said Matthew.
For Elsa Peterson of the Windward Islands People’s Movement (WIPM), this is also her first working visit
as new Island Council Member. “I am going with a very open mind. I am curious to see if my conception
of the functioning of the Island Council is right. I’m enthusiastic and excited. This will be our first time
working together as a new Island Council. The training is important and needed. You never know enough
and you can always learn,” said Peterson.
Island Council member Vito Charles (WIPM) already did a course being part of the previous Island
Council, but he emphasized that this training for the new Island Council was very valuable. “This time it’s
important especially for the new members to learn how to move forward, so everyone understands how
to use the tools and how to use them effectively. It is important that we do this training early on so we
are better equipped,” said Charles.
Island Council Member Hemmie van Xanten (PEP) said that he took part in a training during his term in
the previous Island Council. That training was in May 2022, which Van Xanten said was rather late. “That
training should have been 3 years earlier. I pushed to have the training done much earlier this time, right
at the start of the new Island Council term, so everyone gets completely informed about the functioning
of the Island Council,” he said.
The Island Council returns to Saba on Friday, April 14. Acting Island Council Registrar Devi van Groningen
is part of the delegation.