Kralendijk- Minister of Kingdom Relations and Interior Affairs, Ronald Plasterk, visited Bonaire today. While on the island he had a meeting with Island Council members, but also with the press. Plasterk said he felt a lot had been achieved since Bonaire acquired its new status per 10/10/10, although he admitted there were also still quite some areas where more needed to be done.
The minister said that the lack of progress could not only be blamed on The Hague, but that this was also caused by the local political instability and many changes in the local government.
While the minister was in the Island Council, a number of 100 to 150 protestors assembled outside. The protestors wanted to be heard by Minister Plasterk but the minister, on advice of his security staff, declined to do so. This led to angry reactions of the crowd, who stated that Plasterk was afraid to confront them.
At certain moments the situation in the Wilhelmina Park grew tense with tempers flaring. Police and other security personnel had come out in full force, something that also angered those present.
Plasterk did meet shortly inside the Island Council hall with NKBB president James Finies and representatives of the union umbrella organization USIBO, but refused to step out and was later hastily led away.
The minister is not very popular on Bonaire because he seems to have turned mostly a blind eye to pleas by the island during his tenure, such the need to address poverty, the execution of recommendations of the Spies-report and issues related to the cut in PCN-pensions.