photo: Esther Henry

THE BOTTOM- The Customs Caribbean Netherlands is seeking three persons on the island of Saba, allowing for diversity within the organization. One of the biggest critiques since Saba became a public entity of the Netherlands, is that high paying jobs with government departments as the custom office, police and fire department mainly go to outsourced foreign employees.

One of the job specifications is having Dutch level certifications starting from MBO 2. Dutch courses on the island are booming for the past few years, due to locals wanting to increase their chance of getting a job within the government departments. Saba is mainly an English speaking island where the local schools have English as the language of instruction.

Dutch courses of different levels are offered at Saba Reach Foundation, and are accredited by the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation organization and the University of the Dutch Caribbean on Curaçao. The foundation achieves an increasing steady graduation rate of approximately 20 students each year.

An information session was organized with a participation of seventeen eager job seekers. “On Saba there are no scan machines or search dogs. So, we are looking for three candidates who display qualities such as strong attitude, investigative, curious, have integrity, and are passionate about this job”, expressed managing director of Customs and Tax, Nichalin Martina.

The Dutch language was not a problem within the audience, as half of the presentation was given in Dutch. Luis Harrigan, a freelancer in construction stated, “I would give my level of Dutch a rating of 7 out of 10.” It is advised to mention the ability to speak Dutch in the submitted application letter.

Harrigan further stated, “The meeting was well informative . However, I was expecting more young persons in the community to attend, as this is a great opportunity.”

Once the selection has been completed, the customs trainees will then train and study for approximately six months to a year, with a paid compensation including accommodation and tickets. Persons who don’t succeed after their training will be given a second chance.

Challenges of a small community
Due to the family-like and small community of about two thousand, interviewers will be looking for someone who will be strict and honest. “Creative ideas from drug smugglers are on the rise and the new customs officers must be assertive and possess questioning skills of such activities”, says Martina.