BONAIRE–A majority of two to one in Bonaire voted “No” in Friday’s referendum on the question whether they agreed with the content given to their choice for direct ties with the Netherlands back in 2004. With one of the 10 polling stations still remaining near 12:30am Saturday, “Yes” had 2,037 votes and “No” 4,264.
The PDB/UPB coalition supported the winning option, but Commissioner in charge of General Affairs Clark Abraham had said beforehand that this was a consultation with the population and not the island exercising its right of self-determination.
Based on this result, for now the local government will enter into talks with The Hague regarding possible adjustments. The outcome is then to be placed before the citizens again in a second, decisive referendum next year.
The turnout at the 10 polling stations was an average 59 per cent, with 7,517 out of 12,661 possible votes. For the first time people could only vote at the polling stations on their voting cards, which caused some confusion.
Island Governor Edison Rijna was happy with how things had gone. There were two incidents in which keys had been changed and voting bins could not be opened, but these were resolved in 10 minutes.
The “Yes” answer did not win in any of the voting districts, although it came relatively close at two with 416 of 880 valid votes in Nort Saliña and 384 out of 807 at Young Bonaire. But “No” was almost five times stronger at several polling stations such as the two in Rincon with respectively 507 out of 611 and 309 out of 375.
UPB leader James Kroon thanked especially his supporters in Playa and Rincon, but also extended a hand to those who had voted “Yes” and expressed hope that they all would shape Bonaire’s future together.
It is not clear yet what all this will mean for the Caribbean Netherlands, currently consisting of the three overseas special public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba (the BES islands).
Opposition party MPB leader Elvis Tjin-Asjoe, who campaigned for “Yes,” said at least their efforts had led to assurances that a “No” vote would not mean no longer forming part of the Netherlands.
Source: The Daily Herald Majority say no to content direct ties