Challenging period ahead for Saba Cft chairman Raymond Gradus: “Trust in local government”

The Bottom:--- During its visit to Saba on February 7th, the Board of financial supervision Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Cft) extensively discussed the hurricanes Irma and Maria and the consequences these had for Saba. The way in which Saba dealt herewith as a community has impressed the Cft. Furthermore, it was concluded that the 2018 budget execution has several financial challenges.
During the visit of the Cft on February 7th, the Executive Council gave a presentation on the manner in which Saba prepared itself before the hurricanes and how it took action during and after the hurricanes. During a visit to the port, commissioner Bruce Zagers gave a detailed explanation of the recovery plans. The Cft complimented the Executive Council on how the community of Saba has dealt with the hurricanes. Saba is consulting with the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK) and various departments in The Hague about the use of the funds that have been made available by the government. The Executive Council explained that measures are being taken to ensure financial accountability for the spending of these resources. The Cft also took note of the plans to make the port more hurricane-resistant and the Board underlined importance of this matter.

The various challenges in the 2018 budget execution were also discussed. Saba has, for example, requested to consider postponement of the repayments on the interest-free loans in 2018, and it is currently awaiting decision-making. In addition, a substantial part of the income is incidental, while this on the other hand partly leads to structural costs, creating uncertainty and risks. The Executive Council indicated that these and other topics will be discussed at the end of February during a visit to BZK and other departments.

This visit of the Board to Saba was also marked by the introduction to chairman Raymond Gradus, who came on office on July 1st, 2017. A previously planned visit by the Cft to Saba was not possible in early October as a consequence of the hurricanes.