Kralendijk- The Partido Democratico Boneriano (PDB) is working hard to introduce a subsidy for flights between Bonaire and the Netherlands. The subsidy is only intended for the residents.
A motion to that effect, presented by PDB leader Clark Abraham, was unanimously adopted by the Island Council last Tuesday.
The PDB points out in its motion that travel between Bonaire and the European Netherlands is a very costly matter because it has to be done at commercial rates. Nevertheless, residents of Bonaire are dependent on the European Netherlands for many things. One can think of contacts with Ministries, but also the fact that many children of continue their studies in the Netherlands. The price of tickets for students to visit the island or for the parents to visit their offspring in Holland is, for most, simply too expensive.
According to the PDB, the introduction of such a subsidy is not unique. For example, in its motion, the party refers to the so-called Resident Discount, which exists in Spain for residents of the Canary Islands. Residents of the Canary Islands receive a state-subsidized 75% discount on flight costs from commercial providers between the islands and the continental mainland.
Another example of such a scheme is a $400 dollar subsidy provided by the government in Queensland (Australia) per return flight to and from remote areas.
According to the PDB, the Dutch government in fact has the obligation, based on existing laws, to promote transport between the islands and the Netherlands.
Passenger Transport Act 2000
“In accordance with the Passenger Transport Act 2000, our Minister is responsible for promoting and regulating passenger transport that exceeds provincial boundaries,” according to the motion. The motion also points to the fact that the Caribbean part of the Netherlands does not know the body of Province, that the National Government has assumed both the Provincial tasks and the Government tasks.
“The Passenger Transport Act 2000 does not take into account the geological as well as geographical restrictions to connect Bonaire, by public transport, with the rest of the (European) Netherlands”, according to the motion. The Act only mentions car, bus, train, metro, tram or train.
Incidentally, Abraham, in an interview with ABC Online Media also expressed his opinion that there should be a subsidy for travel between the BES. According to Abraham, the PDB is still studying the matter in order to see how it can best be approached.