photo: Hazel Durand

THE BOTTOM – Even though Saba received minimum damages from the hurricane season in comparison to St.Maarten, this island still faces it’s challenges, making the royal visit this week also an economic boost. The 5 square mile, ‘Unspoiled Queen’, is experiencing a slow season within its hospitality industry, leaving companies troubled for the near future.

King Willem-Alexander en Queen Máxima arrived along with State Secretary for Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops on Thursday, in preparations for the Saba Day 42nd anniversary celebration. One point of priority that was on the King’s agenda, was visiting the Saba Bank with it’s current situation with damages.

A presentation was given to the royal couple by the Saba Conversation Foundation team, informing them of the past and current projects that are being undertaken. This year’s hurricane season left this island with a destroyed ecosystem, according to the foundation. Coral bleaching, global warming, overfishing are also among the few obstacles that are of importance.

Due to the importance of the marine life on the fishing industry, the local fishermen have decided to acknowledge healthier fishing season during the months of October throughout May, in specific for red snapper repopulation. Starting in January 2018, Saba will work on a new project helping the lionfish. After the presentation, the royal couple proceeded to The Fort Bay Harbor to dive and look at the Saba bank.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima with Saba governor Jonathan Johnson. Photo: Esther Henry

Saba Day festivities
Saba Day began by the ringing of the Church Bells and sirens around the island. The royal couple and delegation proceeded to the Governor’s residence with the invitations of speeches and performances. This year’s, “Saba is still going strong” theme will become this island’s mission statement and lifestyle for the future finding answers to minimum wage and other areas of attention.

Thereafter, King Willem briefly greeted the island with “Happy Saba Day”, and acknowledged ‘the resilience of the people making impossible matters, possible’.