In their ambition to ensure that the inhabitants of Saba notice a positive change in their lives,
State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen and Commissioner Bruce Zagers signed the new Saba
Package Agreement for the years 2023-2027. This agreement contains the priorities, goals, and
results jointly formulated and pursued by both parties.
Agreements have been reached on four focal points: (1) the development of community welfare and
well-being; (2) economic and spatial development; (3) climate, nature and sustainability and (4) good
governance. Together parties committed themselves to a ‘hands-on mentality’ in solving problems
and bottlenecks standing in the way of the realization of these goals.
The Saba package emphasizes good governance and the implementation power and organizational
capacity of the Public Entity Saba (PES). This is necessary to ensure that the Public Entity Saba
becomes a robust and durable government apparatus, capable of delivering services to all its citizens
and complying with its statutory tasks. The ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations has made
extra funding available for capacity of the PES and therefore the execution and implementation
power of Saba.
Development of community welfare and well-being
Achieving an improved quality of life and elevating living standards on Saba is one of the main
priorities in the package. In order to achieve this, Saba will develop a Community Development Plan
to address the multifaceted challenges of the community. The Dutch ministries of BZK, VWS, SZW
and OCW will collaborate to support the Public Entity in drafting this plan. An important step in
achieving an integrated approach, will be the creation and implementation of a single point of
service provision for services for community development. This will reduce bureaucracy and
improve the quality and speed of services. Furthermore, agreements are made to reduce
substance abuse and associated health risks and to follow-up on the commitments that were made
with the apology for the slavery past.
Economic and Spatial Development
To achieve sustainable economic development, the Dutch government and the PES will work on
diversifying the economy and improving the earning capacity of Saba in the long term. This will make
the economy of the island more resilient to external shocks. Important elements in that cooperation
are: developing and executing a strategic plan for economic development, improved access to
funding, removal of bottlenecks to economic development, promoting entrepreneurship and
supporting businesses. Furthermore, an investigation on the cost of doing business will be carried
out. The Taskforce Bottlenecks to Economic Development will continue working on these efforts.
Agreements also have been made on digitalization of organizations and services as a way of
improving the level of the quality of services. Digitalization also creates the need for ensuring digital
inclusion. To this end, a dedicated education and training program on digital awareness will be
established. In line with the advice of the Thodé commission on the improving of living standards
and fighting poverty, an additional letter of intent was signed on the developing and construction
of 50 affordable and social houses.
Climate, nature and sustainability
Saba and the Dutch Government will continue working on initiatives that will make Saba better
prepared for the impacts of climate change. The PES and different ministries of the Dutch
government (BZK, EZK and IenW) commit themselves to drafting a climate plan for Saba. The aim is
to finalize this plan in 2024. One of the biggest targets for the coming years is to increase Saba’s
renewable energy share from 40% to approximately 89% by implementing a comprehensive energy
infrastructure, with for example solar panels.
The ministry of BZK and the Public Entity Saba commit themselves to further strengthening the
administrative and executive power of the island, as well as the quality of public governance. The
PES will draw up an Action Plan Good Governance. Also, a learning and development program for
civil servants, as well as additional capacity, is needed to contribute to the improvement of the
execution power and performance of the organization. This learning and development program will
provide civil servants and other government workers the opportunity for personal development and
growth, along with learning new skills that are relevant for local government. In addition to that, the
PES and the Dutch government commits to investing in the younger generation of Saba by offering
opportunities for career exploration within PES, specifically in the form of (summer) internships.