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. 



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