Kralendijk- Michiel Bokhorst has sent a video message with the title “This is how it is” to minister of Interior Affairs, Ronald Plasterk. In his video message, Bokhorst explains the negative effect the proposal to anchor the current status of Bonaire, Saba and Statia as “special municipality” can have on the islands.
According to Bokhorst, Minster Plasterk and State Secretary Klijnsma try to chase the proposal through the First and Second chambers of Parliament, with the aim to anchor ‘lesser rights’ for the three Dutch “special municipalities” of Bonaire, Saba and Saint Eustatius in the constitution.
According to Bokhorst, this would basically mean the end of equal rights for all Dutch people. Bokhorst is not the firsts to voice his concerns over the anchoring of the current status in the Dutch constitution. After the dissolution of The Netherlands Antilles back in 2010, the 3 smaller islands of the Dutch Caribbean were given the status of a “special municipality”, which means that they are not entitled to everything normal Dutch municipalities in the European part of The Netherlands are entitled.
Pressure groups, such as ‘Nos Ke Boneiru Bèk’ and the ‘Statia Brighter Path Foundation’ point out that it can never be the idea to actually anchor a temporary status, like the “special municipality” was supposed to be in the beginning, in the Dutch Constitution. The anchoring, according to these groups, would form a legal basis to withhold the inhabitants of the islands full equal rights as their Dutch counterparts.
When introduced back in 2010, the addition of “special” to the status of the islands was supposed to be to the advantage of the islands. However, according to critical observers, it seems more and more as if the special status is used as justification to avoid awarding the islands the same rights as citizens from “normal” Dutch municipalities, especially when it come to social benefits, pensions and unemployment benefits.
The video message can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnKHC1MIW8M#action=share