WILLEMSTAD – A minority of the inhabitants of Curacao and Aruba has complete independence for their countries in mind. In the long run (25 years) more people support independence, but with 14 percent in Aruba and 30 percent in Curacao they are still a minority. The other extreme – becoming a Dutch public entity – has hardly any support. This appears from the first results of a survey by the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean studies (KITLV).
Aruba is more satisfied about its status as autonomous country within the Kingdom than Curacao, the survey results show. Fewer than 40 percent of the respondents in Curacao want to keep their island as an autonomous country within the Kingdom and around 32 percent wants a return to the Netherlands Antilles. In Aruba, 70 percent stands behind the autonomous status within the Kingdom and just 7 percent want to have the Netherlands Antilles back.
Between September 14 and December 1 of last year the institute executed a large-scale survey on the six islands of the former Netherlands Antilles. The researchers asked islanders about the position of their island in the Kingdom, the relationship with the Netherlands, local politics and media consumption.
Lead researcher Wouter Veenendaal is still in the process of analyzing the data, so the first results are preliminary.
On Aruba and Curacao the institute used a random sample of 1,250 addresses that were visited by local interviewers. In Curacao, interviewers reached 959 addresses (77 percent) with a response percentage of 68 percent. In Aruba interviewers reached fewer citizens (53 percent) with a response percentage of 61 percent.
The institute also did the survey in St. Maarten but there the results turned out to be worthless, because five of the nine freelance interviewers forged their questionnaires. They reported 100 percent response and a 97 percent success rate during the first visit to an address – a statistical impossibility. The results from St. Maarten have therefore been discarded. On Aruba and Curacao the results fell well within statistical probabilities.
Still, Veenendaal says that one has to be careful with the results. “You should look at the data as a careful trend rather than as established facts,” he said.
In Curacao currently less than 40 percent of the respondents wants to be an autonomous country within the Kingdom and 32 percent wants the Netherlands Antilles back. Only 14.4 percent wants complete independence and 7.3 percent wants to become a Dutch public entity – the status currently bestowed on Saba, Statia and Bonaire.
In Aruba a large majority of 70 percent favors the current status. Complete independence has the support of 7.4 percent, 8.6 percent wants the island to become a Dutch public entity and 6.9 percent wants a return to the Netherlands Antilles.