SABA/STATIA—Long-awaited notary services have been secured for Saba and St. Eustatius with the arrival of Marcia Bouterse. The two islands did not have direct access to a notary for a long time.
Bouterse recently met with Saba Island Governor Jonathan Johnson, Commissioner Rolando Wilson, Government Advisor Gerald Simmons and Mortgage Registrar Robert Zagers on Saba. She also visited St. Eustatius where she met with Government Commissioner Alida Francis. Notary Bouterse discussed her short- and long-term business plans with both governments.
Land ownership issue
During the meeting on Saba, Island Governor Johnson provided a detailed introduction to Saba’s land ownership registration rights issue, including its historical development. Simmons shared ideas on possible solutions and a way forward for the Saba people who have land registration problems. “Following the project that was started with the Legal Desk on Saba, a new project has to be worked on in collaboration with all stakeholders,” said Simmons. He mentioned the Kadaster in the Netherlands, the Housing Department of the Ministry of Interior Affairs and Kingdom relations (BZK), and the Public Entity Saba. “It is important that this project will be done in an inclusive way with the Saba community to ensure that the local historical knowledge of property rights is considered. The notary plays a very important role in this,” stated Simmons.
Service is needed
During her meeting with Bouterse, Government Commissioner Alida Francis spoke about the general perception that there is insufficient business on Statia and Saba to have a notary office permanently established. “I am convinced however that this service is needed as the island continues to develop. The high demand for notarial services linked to the mortgage loans is a main priority now. However, I have encouraged Bouterse to inform the community of the wide range of services, including last testament, civil partnerships etc.,” she stated.
Government Commissioner Francis, Island Governor Johnson and Commissioner Wilson expressed their gratitude to Notary Bouterse for coming to St. Eustatius and Saba. The government representatives assured her that she has a strong partner in both public entities who will support and facilitate her in whatever way possible. Bouterse has 16 years of professional experience working in the Netherlands and seven in the Caribbean region.