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Saban Island Council expected to adopt proposal for Joint Audit Chamber


SABA–The proposal for  the Joint Audit Chamber of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and  Saba will be handled by  the Island Council (IC)  in a public session today,  Friday, and it is expected  to be adopted with some reservations from council  members. The proposal was already discussed in Tuesday’s Central Committee  (CC) meeting.

Despite delays of over  one-and-a-half years in its  adoption, the island legislatives of the three islands  are required to do so by the  WolBES. Saba’s objections  are reflected in the proposal and the IC is expected to  request that the BZK minister change the WolBES  article 95 as it believes an  Audit Committee would  better serve the island. IC Registrar Akilah Levenstone read the proposal  regulation within the CC  meeting. During deliberationsWindward Islands People’s  Movement (WIPM) councilman Carl Buncamper  highlighted that Saba’s IC  “gladly welcomes the audit  function as a tool for us to  help regulate.” He recommended that a study be  done first if it is even possible for the audit function  to be done jointly, or even  if there is enough policy to  guide the proper execution  of such tasks.

Buncamper believes that  an island audit committee  should have the equal function to that of a European  Netherlands’ municipality and that it would be a  “more desirable model for  the audit function,” based  on local needs. He also expressed reservations about  the version of the document  now submitted as it appears  it is not the same version as  that voted by Bonaire’s IC,  on which amendments were  made.

The major point of contention is the article concerning  the cost-sharing for the Joint  Audit Chamber to be covered by the three public entities. The Bonaire-favoured  approach has the cost sharing calculation pegged to  the free remittance. If calculated per capita as Saba and  St. Eustatius lobbied for the  same amount of funds would  be provided, but with a larger  share covered by Bonaire.  Buncamper argued that  Saba does not need to respect the interpretation given at this time, noting that  even the BZK expert could  not clarify this aspect. The  per capita calculation would  reduce Saba’s contribution  by about 50 per cent.

Saba Labour Party opposition leader Ishmael Levenston, a veteran Saba politician, quoted his grandmother saying “if the Dutchmen  like fish, give them fish” and  he called on Saba’s politicians to bring “all hands on  deck” and move the agenda  forward, protecting Saba’s  interests. He lamented  the absence of two WIPM  council members, underlining that his presence in the  meeting and his collaboration allows the executive to  move the agenda.   He reminisced about such  cooperation with former  WIPM politician Will Johnson while both travelled to  The Hague. As the most  senior serving councilman  he counselled the executive  to use personal contacts in  their strategy of having Saba’s position heard by the  ministry. He called on the  influence of multi-generational political families on  the island supporting common agendas. WIPM chairman Rolando  Wilson expressed his gratitude for the SLP councilman’s support.


Bron: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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