St. Eustatius  –  A number of key sectors in Statia stand to benefit from a €10 million cash injection from the Netherlands. The funds are part of €386.4 million extra from the state made available to 22 regions through the so-called Region Deals.

Each region can use the money to improve living, housing and working conditions for residents and entrepreneurs

“It is a remarkable achievement for Statia as the deal concentrates on natural and cultural heritage and health, a recognition of the importance of the island’s culture and community,” said Reuben Merkman, the island commissioner responsible for finance.

“The goal of the Region Deal is to strengthen Statia’s socio-economic position while simultaneously using the extra attention that the island will receive for Statia Day 2026 as a catalyst and a benchmark for investments on the island in the areas of heritage, culture, health, nature, and tourism.”

The Region Deal is expected to encourage potential external financiers to participate in the long-term socio-economic development of the island. This in turn is expected to boost the island by improving health and social cohesion.

The number of visitors is also projected to rise as a result of the development, restoration and promotion of historical and natural heritage, including the Madam Theatre, the Botanical Gardens and other important locations across the island,  as part of the commemoration of slavery past.

Concrete efforts are being made to catalogue, conserve and restore historical objects linked to transatlantic slavery. This include the possible establishment of a research centre, where multiple knowledge institutions that focus on the history of slavery can collaborate and the provision of additional support for a feasibility study and erection of a commemorative monument.

“The success of these efforts will lead to greater prosperity for Statians as offering unique cultural and natural experiences for visitors is key to Statia’s sustainable socio-economic development. There have been previous, scattered attempts to implement innovations, but the unifying force of the Region Deal, where many parties join forces, can provide the right push,” added Merkman, the island commissioner.