Kralendijk – Despite warnings from Island Governor Rijna not to get involved with this, there are concrete suspicions that vote buying is taking place on Bonaire in the run-up to the Island Council elections on March 20 a.s.
In a press conference this afternoon, Island Governor Rijna and Chief Prosecutor Bote ter Stege announced that an investigation would be launched into at least 20 cases where there was a suspicion that votes had been bought or sold. “Normally the Public Prosecutor’s Office keeps far from politics,” said Ter Stege. The Chief Prosecutor however said that indications of vote-buying had become so tangible that the Public Prosecution Service had to take action. “There have been reports, among others, from the island governor, a policeman and a leader of a political party, who all say there are concrete indications of vote buying taking place”, according to Ter Stege.
Ter Stege also pointed out that, contrary to what some may believe, both sides in the vote buying/selling are guilty of committing a criminal offense. “It is not only the party that buys votes, but also the seller of a vote by issuing a proxy against pay, who make themselves guilty of a criminal offense,” said Ter Stege.
The chief officer indicated that in cases where there is a suspicion of vote buying has taken place, an extensive inquiry will take place in order to establish the facts. If the suspicions are confirmed or further specified, the OM can determine further action.
When asked by the press whether there were suspicions against a particular party who was guilty of buying up proxy votes, Ter Stege did not want to answer in the affirmative. The chief officer said that further investigation should provide more clarity about this.
Voting by Proxy introduced per 10/10/10
The principle of voting by proxy is one of the changes in the local elections that were taken over on the islands on 10/10/10, and about which there are many doubts among local parties. Also on Saba concerns have been voiced by certain politicians, when it comes to buying votes by convincing people to sell a vote-by proxy to certain parties.