Statia, Bonaire petition for support from ACS

~ Want Monday’s debate halted ~

HAVANA, Cuba–Political parties representing St. Eustatius and Bonaire have sent a letter petitioning the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) for support to have the two islands re-enlisted or re-inscribed by the United Nations as non-self-governing territories and to have a self-governance assessment carried out for both islands as was done in the past for Curaçao.

The letter sent to the ACS, a sitting of which is taking place in Havana, Cuba, was signed by James Finies (Nos Kier Boneiru Bek), Clyde van Putten (Progressive Labour Party), Rueben Merkman (United People’s Coalition) and Robert Beukenboom (Partido Demkratiko Boneriano).

They also called for allowing the populations of the two islands to exercise their right to self-determination as prescribed by the United Nations resolutions 1514, 1541, and 2625.

“We will collectively and/or individually continue to champion our cause and that of the constituents of the associate members of the ACS whom we represent at the United Nations and trust that we can count on your support during this process,” the representatives stated in the letter.

Their plea stems from the Dutch Government’s continued “blatant disregard for, and neglect and violation of the social, economic and human right” of the people of Bonaire and St. Eustatius after the constitutional change that entered into force as of October 10, 2010. On that date, the two islands became public entities of the Dutch Kingdom.

Both islands have since rejected the current constitutional status via separate referenda in 2015. The outcome “clearly indicated a resounding rejection of the new constitutional status of the islands and the manner in which it came about,” they wrote.

The Dutch Government has ignored the recommendations of the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights and the opinions of the islands (including Saba), and “decided to ignore the evaluation report’s findings and merely make some cosmetic adjustments to its policies towards the three islands.”

Further, the Dutch Government is pressing ahead to urgently seek the approval of the Dutch Parliament on Monday, June 6, “for the permanent embedding of the three islands into the Constitution of the Netherlands. If this would to become a reality, it would mean that the populations of the three islands will be re-colonised as second or third rate citizens of the Netherlands,” according to the June 2 letter to ACS.

The representatives did not voice their objections only with ACS about the path the Dutch Government is on; they also have sent a letter to Dutch Minister for Kingdom Relations Roland Plasterk calling for the June 6 Dutch Parliament debate to be “postponed.” This is called for “to prevent (additional) irreversible damage to an already flawed process from occurring.”

“We trust that you will honour our request and that this will pave the way for constructive two-way dialogue between your government and those of the three islands on the way forward aimed at coming to permanent solutions for current (and potential future) problems,” the four representatives stated in their correspondence to Plasterk.

Source: Daily Herald
Statia, Bonaire petition for support from ACS