11 September 2011

Bonaire residents demonstrate against present status, governing Coalition falls



 "If this is how it’s to be, then give us our independence."


KRALENDIJK — A demonstration was held this morning on Bonaire against the current situation on the island. While the ceremony of the Day of Bonaire was held for the official invitees, worried citizens assembled for a peaceful demonstration. According to witnesses, it was a ‘passive demonstration consisting of approximately two-hundred people’. The organization estimates the number was closer to one-thousand.

According to organizer Cedric Soliana , the demonstration was to indicate the people’s dissatisfaction with the current situation on Bonaire. “Although nothing came of all beautiful promises, all laws and rules were implemented. Bonaire was to become a land of milk and honey, but the people only feel pain.”

Soliana emphasizes that the Bonairean is feeling more and more like a stranger in his/her own country. “Our culture is being pushed aside and our manners trampled.”

 According to him, the demonstration was not directed against the Dutch government or the Bonaire government. “We are angry with those who put us in this situation. We say: if this is how it’s to be, then give us our independence. We may then have to battle hard and long for our prosperity, but we will then have autonomy, which we do not have now.” The organization also states is does not oppose the Dutch. “We are not against people, against Dutch citizens, Venezuelans, Chinese or whatever. We only ask that people adjust when they live on Bonaire just like we are expected to do when we choose to live elsewhere.”

Ruling Coalition Loses Majority
 Approval for new government on Bonaire

KRALENDIJK — Bonaire holds out prospects of a new government again. The coalition PDB/MBL/PHU lost its majority on Monday when Island Council member Rafael Santana for the PHU abandoned his confidence in the PHU deputy Michiel Bijkerk. Tuesday evening, on behalf of the UPB Santana informed the PHU and James Kroon there was an agreement to form a new government.

The representatives of the parties PDB and MBL in the Island Council of Bonaire (four seats in total) indicated they cooperation in a government that can count on a majority of eight seats in the Island Council.The two parties UPB (4) and PHU (1) have five seats and therefore a narrow majority in the Island Council of nine seats. The agreement promises to present a coalition agreement from the two parties within two months that is based on trust, stability, transparency and mutual respect.

Agreement on new government

The parties have confirmed three decisions. First, as majority of the Island Council to do their utmost in promoting the needs and interests of the Bonairean people in a dignified and correct manner.

Second, the new government wishes to restore the confidence so investors can contribute towards a permanent economic development, thus increasing employment on Bonaire again.

Third, the new government wants to list all current matters of concern regarding the new political status and deliberate with the Netherlands.

Kroon explains he is happy Bonaire will have a stable government, which according to him will last up to the elections of March 2015. Since the rift of Monday morning, Kroon has not heard anything officially from the other parties PDB and MBL. He states, “We can make agreements with the PHU that are in the interest of the people of Bonaire and we find that most important”.

On being asked, he doesn’t know which role PHU party-leader Michiel Bijkerk plays in this. “We consulted with Santana, member in the Island Council for the PHU and signed an agreement with him.”

According to Kroon, the people of Bonaire have suffered under the former collation and he’s happy the UPB as largest party (4 seats) is back in the government. “We can now work on the existing concerns.”


The signatories of the agreement – Robby Beukenboom, Nollie Oleana and Clark Abraham on behalf of the PDB and Benito Dirksz on behalf of the MBL – forwarded the letter yesterday to the UBP council members Burney EI Hage, Maritza Silberie, Milena Winklaar and Jeffrey Levenstone.

In this letter, they express their concern on the lack of stability in the Bonairean government the past years. “We were once again confronted with a crisis on one seat in the council.” According to the signatories, very important matters are taking place on Bonaire and we must not waste our time on political games. The formation of a new government of eight seats by a coalition of UPB, MBL and PHB, will guarantee the stability, working on a solid government.

The signatories requested a response before two o’clock today. The most important concern points include the spending power, the public health, the tax system, relief and family allowance. The signatories prefer consultation within the Kingdom in the shortest possible time to come up with solutions. In addition, the instable political climate has a negative effect on investors. “This is certainly undesirable in the economic world situation.”

Benito Dirksz of the MBL terminated a collaboration agreement with coalition parties with the PBU last week because he learned that Santana and Kroon had started negotiations. Bijkerk had denied those negotiations, but according to Dirksz, it is beyond doubt.