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Thread: Referendum December,18th

  1. #11
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    kob is offline Bonaire Lover SUPPORTING MEMBER - Bonaire Talker
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    Hopi bon ... masha danki, mi dushi !!
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  2. #12
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    This was shared by a friend. I did not write it. You may pick up your voting card at Passagrahan and vote until 9 PM. My voting station is Jong Bonaire

    In the upcoming referendum on December 18 you will be asked to vote YES or NO. Itís incredible how many misconceptions, some of it caused by government misinformation exist among the citizens about these questions and the consequences of a YES or No majority outcome. Too many people believe that a YES vote means that we are totally happy with the present situation and that no negotiations for improvement with the Dutch will be possible. Therefore many people will tend to vote NO. Reality is very different!

    A NO vote would lead to a second referendum with choices: independence, status aparte (like Curacao with no, or hardly any Dutch money), or complete integration into Holland (island government with much less flexibility for instance to create our own laws). All very bad choices, even total integration is a bad choice as Bonaire wants to grow while keeping its norms and culture. The present Public Entity not only offers that flexibility but also the rights and social security that being part of Holland guarantees. The only real beneficiaries of a NO vote will be the local politicians that stand to gain more power. What is so strange is that the UPB party, now in power, fought for the Public Entity party and was instrumental in getting it passed while now advocating a NO vote. No wonder that now so many UPB members are now turning against their leader and have formed a group, of YES voters.

    A YES vote would assure that the status remains as it is now, with to-be-negotiated improvements and with the Dutch paying for the government deficit of 146 million annually. This does not include special projects such as airport improvements, container harbor, etc. which the Dutch also pay. Don't forget that present poverty was not caused by 10-10-10 , but by merchants that basically priced their merchandise as 10 guilders became 10 dollars, while a 10 guilder salary became 5.5 dollars. As you know, in 2014 the BES islands and the Netherlands signed an agreement that meant the start of a major evaluation of the political structure (Legislation, Regulations and Tasks), a huge evaluation of the present status in which prominent Antillians, such as Bonairian and ex gezaghebber Dr. Glenn Thode as an Evaluation Commission Member, with Dutch participation under the lead of former Dutch government Minister Spies, called the Spies Commission. They visited all barrios several times to talk to locals, NGOís, Social Partners, the Business and Government Sectors to determine and evaluate the problems as they exist in our community. Visit the evaluation video in Papiamentu: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k143Gg9RD5w

    See below part of the resulting agreement and the actions to be taken. So far the island government has done nothing with the recommendations. In other words, a SI vote does not mean that we are satisfied with the present condition and it gives us a great opportunity to negotiate with the Dutch, something the Dutch themselves are urging us to do (see Spies recommendations below). Especially point 4 shows that a YES vote will allow us to improve our status according to the Evaluation Agreement.

    So, vote SI and let's get on with these recommendations, sorry they are in Dutch (use Google?). The assumption that nothing will get done if the SI vote attains a majority is simply incorrect and also dangerous. Why dangerous? Dutch politics is leaning more and more to the right (like many European countries), meaning strong opposition to immigration, Muslims and refuges. The right wants to get rid of the Dutch Caribbean islands because they cost a lot of money and bring no real benefit to Holland. Wildersí (strongly anti Dutch Islands) party the PVV is presently the biggest political party in Holland. The VVD is the second biggest and also on the right. A NO vote would strengthen the Dutch right in their wish to get rid of us, saying ...the islands cost us so much money and see what we get for it: no appreciation at all for our efforts, so letís get rid of them, something Wilders has said many times.

    I think the English Speaking community and also many Locals do not realize how much the Dutch are investing in Bonaire. Some examples: the school systems and education very much improved, the hospital, the justice system and police, prison, the airport, and especially social care where there was such a deficit. Do you know how much is being done about teen pregnancy, violence in the home, psychiatric care, accommodation for problem cases, addiction, etc? The Dutch are pushing us to move faster in these areas, which at times leads to friction. Where would Jong Bonaire be without Dutch money? We would have to close our doors. Yes, the roads are very bad, but that is an island government responsibility and has nothing to do with 10-10-10. Even so, Holland has indicated that it is willing to help with the infrastructure and roads but Bonaire needs to create the infrastructure and maintenance plans before Holland will evaluate the plans to approve and finance them.


    Do you remember the poverty some 15 years ago, i.e. before 10-10-10, when the government was out of money and could not pay the salaries of teachers, police and government officials. Remember how the hospital at one point had to close its doors? The Boticas were not paid by the government and closed doors? Going to the exterior for medical treatment totally depended on political goodwill to be approved for travel. Now we get medical care with by just showing our ID. There is now even an Ombudsman that will guarantee equal treatment of all citizens by the government. These were some of the main reasons we voted for direct ties with Holland in the earlier referendum.

    Finally, some people say that it is unfair that we do not get the same social benefits as the Dutch, such as old age pension. These people forget that if we want to get those benefits we also have to pay Dutch taxes (very much higher than here), a sales tax of 21 %, an inheritance tax of 20% (now zero here) plus all their famous rules, I think you need a permit to breathe.
    Ann Phelan
    Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacations - Owner

  3. #13
    kob's Avatar
    kob is offline Bonaire Lover SUPPORTING MEMBER - Bonaire Talker
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    Thanks, Ann ... great explanation
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  4. #14
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    Ann, that was a good explanation, thanks.

    Just a few thoughts. It seems many Bonairians have a love/hate relationship with the Dutch. They love the resources provided by the Dutch but hate the control. It also seems the Dutch are unhappy, hating the substantial costs while getting little or nothing in return.

    Bonaire is a welfare state at this time. It is unable to fund itself. Demanding more of the Dutch or providing the them less control could be counterproductive. The Dutch could just walk away.

    Bonaire needs to find a way to fund itself. This will require smart economists who understand the situation, it will require locals to learn to fully provide for themselves with an adequate level of taxation and services and, it will require managing both immigration and tourism in ways that provide benefit to the Island and its inhabitants. This can be done, it is being done on many islands. Of course many other islands fail. Local politics and the voters putting immediate self-interest over long term benefits to their island is probably the greatest inhibiting factor.

    Good luck.

  5. #15
    tholland is offline Bonaire Lover Bonaire Talker
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    We just learned that about 65% of Bonairians voted NO in yesterday's (12/18/15) Referendum. Do folks living now on Bonaire worry about a financial collapse/disaster on the island or if the Dutch will pull out of the island entirely now? Clearly there are serious issues that folks seem to think need to be addressed. What do you think will happen?

  6. #16
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    The vast majority who voted NO (Should we keep the direct link to The Netherlands) think that we SHOULD keep the direct link to The Netherlands, but our island issues should be addressed more fairly and we islanders should have a more significant voice in deciding our future benefits from The Kingdom.
    Sounds counterintuitive? Yes it is. My problem with this vote is simple. How do you vote to break the link and believe that the result will be additional power to negotiate more support from Holland? There are those in the far off Parliament who would be happy to save the hundreds of millions they send to Bonaire and wash their hands of this island completely. Local politicians are playing a dangerous game. We shall see if Holland calls their bluff. I don't believe the local people understand what they have voted for.

  7. #17
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    mpement: Your use of the word "fair" creates more questions than answers. Fair to whom? To the people of Bonaire? To the taxpayers of Holland? Both sides will see what they wish. It would be interesting to know what Bonairians think is "unfair" about the relationship. Presumably the Dutch think it is unfair that they must pay anything to support the island.

    In the final analysis, the guys paying the bills decide what they believe is fair and the "fair" will be the perspective of the taxpayers of Holland.

    I love Bonaire. It has a lot going for it but, it tells us something that the locals tend to be poor while the island imports significant amounts of labor to meet the needs of the tourist industry. There is ample opportunity for Bonairians. The issue is are they ready to take responsibility for their own fates and grab the opportunities available to them?

  8. #18
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    Has there been any new developments in this area? Have the Dutch moved to curtail investment in Bonaire?

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