The tiny Caribbean island of San Andres has garnered international headlines of late due to a ruling by the Hague which granted a sizable portion of the island’s maritime territory to Nicaragua while maintaining Colombia’s jurisdiction over the island itself.
“I repeat, we are not going to stop any attempt [or] effort to recover and ensure the rights of not only native islanders but all islanders, and all Colombians,” said the president.
San Andres’ governor had previously expressed her concern for her island’s fishing industry especially the Raizal [indigenous San Andresanos] community.
“We are disappointed in the sense [that] we lost territory…and concerned for the Raizal community…fishing is one of the only ways [they] participate in the economy,” San Andres Governor Aury Guerrero told Colombia Reports.
Santos explained that the investment will be broken into two stages — a short term which will fund projects that deal with the immediate future, and a second stage, which are longer-term projects.
Colombia’s head of state said that the funds will be divided between subsidies for fishermen and subsidies on energy tariffs, reducing the cost of flights from San Andres to Providencia, investment in tourism, education and culture projects.
According to Santos, these investments will inject “new air” into the archipelago.
“We will do everything within our domain, our power, to [make the archipelagos] better, ultimately, than they were before the failure,” said the president.
Santos contemplated earlier this week about declaring a state of emergency in San Andres, therefore granting himself presidential powers to issue laws by decree without any further congressional consent. By declaring a state of emergency, Santos would presumably attempt to accelerate the delivery of aid to the Caribbean islands.
“We decided to include two important aspects in the [proposed] tax reform: first, the creation of a sub-account…devoted exclusively…to humanitarian investments in San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina…and we also included [a] reform…to give tax exemptions to investors who want to…invest in San Andres and Providencia,” Santos explained.