A recent inquiry by the acting Kingdom Representative (“waarnemend Rijksvertegenwoordiger”)
into the purchase of material by the Public Entity Saba from a civil servant showed that there is friction
within the current legal framework.
In February 2023, Acting Kingdom Representative Jan Helmond received a report from a Saba resident
with regard to the purchase of material from an employee of the Public Entity Saba. It was argued that
the purchase was in violation of a specific article of the decree that regulates the legal position of civil
servants in the Caribbean Netherlands, “Rechtspositiebesluit ambtenaren BES”, which restricts the
purchase by government of goods or services from a civil servant.
The acting Kingdom Representative made an inquiry at the Public Entity Saba. In its response, the Public
Entity Saba confirmed that it indeed made the purchase, but that in doing so, government followed the
internal procedure and acted prudently.
It is a fact that imports to Saba are very expensive and that it is sometimes wiser from a cost perspective
to purchase second-hand material that is already on the island. It should also be considered that a large
part of the population works for government. This makes it hard to strictly maintain this specific
regulation on Saba.
However, then State Secretary for Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops informed Dutch Parliament in July
2020, that the regulation in question must be strictly interpreted, as long as it is not adapted. The State
Secretary also showed understanding for the context in Caribbean Netherlands and proposed to change
the regulation for certain cases. So far, the regulation has not been amended, but it is being worked on,
remarked the acting Kingdom Representative in his letter to Island Governor Jonathan Johnson.
In that legislation adaptation, the local background and the small scale of the islands will be taken into
consideration. Acting Kingdom Representative Helmond stated that he had comprehension for the
specific situation on Saba. He also took into consideration that the Public Entity Saba indicated that the
internal decision-taking process took place in a prudent manner and conform the island regulations.
Helmond did ask the Executive Council to strictly apply and interpret the specific article of the decree in