KRALENDIJK – During a short visit to Bonaire, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte emphasized that a person who is living in poverty is best helped with a job and not a higher welfare payment. And that’s why lowering poverty on the BES islands is not just the responsibility of the Dutch government but a shared one.
Story continues after the video
By Ronald A. Muyden (English subtitles available)
This was Rutte’s answer to the question as to why the Dutch government hasn’t been able to reduce inequality, especially poverty on Bonaire, Saba, and Statia during the past ten years. Additionally it is taking the Netherlands a lot of time to determine the social minimum for the islands while reports show that the inequality is continuing to grow.
“At the end of the day, the biggest improvement a person living in poverty can have is a job. And finding a job is not something that we can make happen in the Hague. The Bestuurscollege on the island makes it happen through its economic policies”, says Rutte.
In November of last year, the Kingdom government and the local government of Bonaire agreed to partake in employment consultation. Together they want to set up a job center where services for employers and employees come together in one place. According to the Bestuursakkoord, a concrete plan should be presented and ratified by the end of this month.
In 2016 6.7 percent of the labor force was unemployed on Bonaire. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics this amounts to 770 unemployed individuals.