Op 10 september 2004 werd op Bonaire een niet-bindend referendum gehouden.

Uitslag referendum

Optie Stemmen Percentage
A: binnen de Nederlandse Antillen blijven 853 15,94
B: een directe band met Nederland 3.182 59,45
C: een autonoom land binnen het Koninkrijk 1.290 24,10
D: volledige onafhankelijkheid van het Koninkrijk 27 0,50
Blanco en ongeldige stemmen 106 1,94
Opkomst 5.458 57,24


Op 11 oktober 2006 bereikte Bonaire (samen met Saba en Sint Eustatius) een akkoord met de Nederlandse regering over een rechtstreekse band met Nederland. De Nederlandse Antillen zijn op 10 oktober 2010 ontbonden en Bonaire, gelijk aan Saba en Statia, als openbare lichaam zoals bedoeld in artikel 134 van de Grondwet ingericht.

Het was de bedoeling dat er ook nog een referendum zou worden gehouden op 15 januari 2010, dat na veel politieke ophef – zowel op de Antillen als in Nederland – niet doorging. Uiteindelijk werd er na overleg met de minister van Binnenlandse Zaken, Piet Hein Donner toch een referendum gehouden op 17 december 2010 die door politieke partijen is geboycot.

Inmiddels heeft de Nederlandse regering het wetsvoorstel strekkende tot het opnemen van een constitutionele basis voor BES aangenomen waarbij Bonaire, Saba i Statia definitief in Nederland geïntegreerd zullen worden als bedoeld in het door de regering voorgestelde nieuwe artikel 132a van de Nederlandse Grondwet. De procedure wordt nu in de Eerste Kamer voortgezet. Dit alles gebeurd zonder zonder de zelfbeschikkingsreferendum te houden. Wij vinden dit gang van zaken onacceptabel.

Why is the peoples’ right of self-determination emphasized to this extent? Because if the right of self-determination of people as a group is not secured, then the basic right of each individual in the group will not be secured.”

In het licht van het voorafgaande is de bevolking van Bonaire van mening dat ze hun recht op zelfbeschikking niet hebben uitgeoefend. De bevolking heeft immers geen bewuste keuze kunnen maken over hun toekomstige politieke status. De keuze voor directe banden is een andere dan de keuze voor integratie, die zelfs niet voorlag als keuze. Noch heeft de bevolking de kans gehad om zelf hun eigen economische, sociale en culturele ontwikkeling ter hand te nemen. Volgens de Resolutie 1541 van de Verenigde Naties moet iedere wijziging van een status “een vrijwillig uitgesproken wens zijn van de bevolking van het betreffend gebied die handelt met volledige kennis van de wijziging van hun status…”

Wij teken daarom deze petitie.

Call to the Government of Bonaire: to organize a Self-determination Referendum

Petition Background :
The Country of the Netherlands Antilles originally existed since December 15th 1954 and was comprised of six islands (Curaçao, Aruba, St. Maarten, Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba), which each formed a separate administrative unit, called ‘eilandgebied’ (island territory). As such, each Island Territory had its own local government. In addition, there was a central government for the Netherlands Antilles, as well as a senate that was comprised of representatives of all six (6) islands.

In 1986, Aruba became a separate Country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, while the other five islands remained within the Netherlands Antilles.
In the early nineties, there were discussions within the Netherlands Antilles regarding the constitutional status of the Country as a body. There were referendums held on all five (5) islands. All islands had the opportunity to choose between:

A. Remaining part of the Netherlands Antilles. However, the Netherlands Antilles would then be restructured; B. Separate status and as such becoming a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands; C. Direct ties with the Netherlands; D. Independence.

All islands of the Netherlands Antilles, including Bonaire, opted to remain in the Netherlands Antilles. As the intended restructuring of the Netherlands Antilles did not take place, discussions among the islands once again took place regarding remaining within the Netherlands Antilles as a country. St. Maarten was the first to have its referendum in June of 2000, which sparked the other islands to have their referendum in 2004 and 2005.

During the referendum in Bonaire the following options were provided, which yielded the following results: voters turnout of 56.1%:
Option Votes Percentage

A: Remain part of the Netherlands Antilles 853 15.94%
B: Direct constitutional ties with the Netherlands 3182 59.45%
C. Autonomous country within the Kingdom 1290 24.10%
D: Independence 27 0.5%

Following the referenda on the various islands, the first Round Table Conference between the islands, the Netherlands Antillean government and the Netherlands took place on November 26th 2005. It was agreed that Curacao and St. Maarten would become countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, while the three other islands would become directly part of the Netherlands as a “Public Entity”.

Around 33 % only of all the people of Bonaire that could have vote, including 16 & 17 years old and foreigners without a Dutch nationality, had chosen for a direct link with Holland. However, it was decided that Bonaire instead of direct constitutional ties with the Netherlands would be integrated as part of the Netherlands.

The Netherlands Antilles ceased to exist on October 10th 2010. The islands, with the exception of Bonaire & St Eustatius, obtained the status which they voted for during the 2005 referendum. As mentioned, it was decided upon that together with Saba and St. Eustatius, Bonaire (together referred to as the BES islands) would become a part of the Netherlands. As such, each one of the BES Island would be a public entity of the Netherlands.

Unlike the situation of the Netherlands Antilles whereby Bonaire would have a representative in the parliament – and depending on the coalition, also a representative in government – Bonaire does not have any representative whatsoever in the Parliament or the Senate of the Netherlands. Nevertheless, said bodies – the legislature – create and implement laws that are applicable on Bonaire. It was agreed upon by all partners within the Kingdom of the Netherlands that there would be an evaluation of the current status after a period of 5 years. As such, the evaluation will take place in 2015.

In light of the aforementioned, the people of Bonaire are adamantly of the opinion that they have not exercised their right to self-determination, and as such have been denied said right, as they have not freely determined their political status or the chance to decide how to pursue their own economic, social and cultural development. According to the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1541 (XV), any change of status should “be the freely expressed wishes of the territory’s people acting with full knowledge of the change of their status…”

The Government of Bonaire, The Island Council of the Government of the Public Entity of Bonaire,
Mr. Ronald Plasterk, Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK)
Mr. Wilbert Stolte, Office of the Kingdom Representative
Permanent Committee Members, Permanent Committee Members of the first & second chamber

We, the undersigned, being Bonaireans, ask that our government – being the local government of the Public Entity of Bonaireans – put all arrangements in place for the free exercise of the right to self-determination, no later than December 2013, so that the people of Bonaire can decide democratically their own future in accordance with International Standards of human rights, the principles of International Law and the Charter of the United Nations.

It should be acknowledged that integration with full political rights, independence, and free association are the three legitimate alternatives which constitute the internationally recognized options of political equality under the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1541 (XV). As such, the aforementioned options should be among the choices for the people of Bonaire to vote upon during a constitutional referendum.

We consider it the duty of our government to provide the necessary information to its people prior to the constitutional referendum, so that the population is aware of the ramifications of the status options contained in Resolution 1541, and so that the population would be able to make an informed choice between the various status options.

We invite all those that have Bonaire’s interest at heart to indicate support and sympathy by adding below their signatures to the petition.


Sign here: 


From letters, it has become clear that the island councils are responsible for holding the self-determination referendum. Why do they not do it? Without results of that referendum is The Netherlands working on that constitutional amendment. As a result of what? It is hard to imagine because Ramonsito Booi has said that no referendum will be held. And also not because Henk Kamp and Drs. A.Th.B. (Ank) Bijleveld-Schouten that has said. So what a hell is going on here? In March 2013 decided the First Chamber to suspend the written proposal of the Bill until after the evaluation of the new State structure within the Kingdom in 2015. 


KUNUKU, the cd album of William Anthony. © 2011

The title refers to the song Dios Y Ami Na Playa Grandi; an adaptation of the song Deus E Eu No Sertão, written by the Brazilian Victor Chaves.

The music of those unforgettable songs, written by leading Antillian composers in the 1960s, is a mix of electronic and acoustic instruments. To mention the lively guitar play in the adventurous Piskadó composed by Rudy Plaate and the beautiful orchestration in Ansiedad of José Enrique “Chelique” Sarabia, simulating a dynamic Philharmonic Orchestra.

On the CD are two Simadan songs of Bonaire; Remailo and Mi Deseo. One of the best-known songs sung in the KUNUKU is Mi Deseo. It was forgotten and nearly lost, but now is modified and made accessible. In the track Remailo we can hear the very creative sample of the vocals of the choir Kanta Orchidia from Bonaire also the juicy rhythms of a number of traditional instruments and plain hand-clapping.

Hits from the ‘ 60s, such as the fabulous wals Pa Semper Uni of Rafael Gravenhorst, the sentimental bolero Fo’i Dia M’a Mirabo of Padú del Caribe and the pleasant holadijee holadio Curaçao polka Bam Bam sound cheerful on the album. In short, your special attention for songs that are not allowed to be forgotten.

The CD production Kunuku is made possible by the Prins Bernhard cultuurfonds Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.

William Anthony has previously released a number of Antillian unknown or forgotten songs: Sobre Las Alas Del Viento – Corsen (sheet music from the book “Poesias” the Corsen) on CD Album Esta Dushi (2010), Bon Aña (J. Palm) CD Album Tesoro (2009), Riba Awa (v.d. Pavert/Palm) CD single Nos Ta Canta (2007) both from the song book Nos Ta Canta, Schoon is de West and Snijderlied – CD single Music from Bonaire (1998), restored the composition Esta Dushi of Pedro Pablo Medardo de Marchena on the eponymous CD Album (2010) and many more.

The mp3 files are for download in iTunes Store, AmzonMP3 (United States) and the various download portals worldwide.


Esta Dushi


During the World War years of 1940-1945 wrote Pedro Pablo Medardo de Marchena the lyrics of this song in captivity in the camp on Bonaire. In that concentration camp, he wrote a dozen or more lyrics about the physical beauty and to be in romantic love with an unattainable woman. The lyrics held a plea in favor of the Papiamento against the exclusively use of Spanish and English in the ‘tophit’. The written on silver paper from cigarette boxes collection was entirely unknown until they discussed them and is private kept on Bonaire. ‘Esta dushi’ is one of his songs and was made famous as ‘Bula waya’ by the Puerto Rican singer Daniel Santos. It goes about his desire to jump over the fence of the camp and get acquainted with the beautiful woman he regularly saw walking at the other side of the fence. The melodie is of the song “Ay mi a subi un ceru” in the song book ‘Nos ta Canta”. This piece of history is available for download at AmazonMP3 (USA), iTunes Store and through the various download portals worldwide.

Antilliaanse liederen van weleer

ImageNos Ta Canta foto buki

Toen ik jaren geleden naar Nederland ben verhuisd ben ik in contact gebracht met Oscar Harris. Hij gaf me een aantal orkestbanden. Het waren covers van bekende liederen. Ik deed mee aan talentenjachten en had hier en daar een optreden. Vaak zeiden de mensen dat wij op Antillen heerlijk muziek en liederen hebben en vroegen waarom ik daar niets mee deed. Later in het Vriendengenootschap Nederland-Antillen-Aruba begon een brainstorm over de Antilliaanse liederen van weleer. Zo ontstond het idee een cd op te nemen met een aantal liederen van historische betekenis. Het is Music from Bonaire geworden. Het kwam uit op 23 februari 1998. Mede mogelijk gemaakt door het Boneriaanse bedrijfsleven en is met warm hart ontvangen. Zoals Jac Goderie het in zijn radio programma Live op Radio 2 bij de AVRO “Weekendcafé” op 3 mei 1998 heeft geformuleerd, ik heb me op die genre gestort. De zoektocht naar nog meer liederen uit het verleden om in een nieuw jasje te stoppen begon. Inmiddels heb ik een aantal opgenomen. Het leek erop dat de bronnen waren uitgepunt en de laatste cd in dat genre was Kunuku uitgebracht in 2011. Kunuku is mede mogelijk gemaakt door het Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Nederlandse Antillen en Aruba. Met de single Grandi Grandi Grandi die in december 2012 uitkwam zou dan de afsluiting zijn van het in eigen beheer produceren van mijn cd’s. Maar tot mijn verrassing vond ik in de bibliotheek van het Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen (KIT) de zangbundel Bam Canta met liederen uit de periode van vóór 1944. Of ik alsnog iets daarmee zal doen is het maar de vraag. It’s a hell of job!


Years ago when I moved to the Netherlands I’ve been brought contact with Oscar Harris. He gave me some backing tapes.They were covers of well-known songs. I participated in talent shows and had a gig here and there singing those songs. Often people said that we have on the islands of the Netherlands Antilles such wonderful music and songs and asked why I don’t use them. Later in the Netherlands-Antilles-Aruba Friends Society we started brainstorming about Antillean songs of the past. The idea to produce a CD with some songs of a historical significance was born. It became Music from Bonaire which the realization has been made possible through the generous support of the Bonairian business center, released on Februari, 23th, 1998. It was warmly received. And as Jac Goderie has formulated it in his Live on Radio 2 , AVRO “Weekend Cafe” radio program on May, 3th 1998, I got interested into that genre. The search for more songs from the past has started. Meanwhile I have recorded some of them. It seemed that the source has come to an end. The last album in that genre was Kunuku that I produced in 2011 with the support of Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. The end of independent production of my CDs would be Grandi Grandi Grandi released in December 2012. But to my surprise I found in the library of the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) the songbook Bam Canta with songs from the period before 1944. It’s a very good question if I will do anything with it. It’s a hell of job!