Bonaire Island council must vote again on Tourism Entry Tax

KRALENDIJK- The Island Council on Bonaire will have to vote again on the Island Ordinance which regulates the tourist tax. Although the island parliament also considered this on 12 April and approved the visitor levy, there appears to be administrative ambiguities.

The Island Council went wrong when it considered an amendment submitted by the coalition parties, including about the amount of the tax. However, when the proposal was put to the vote, it was not clear to all parties which exact text was ultimately voted on.

“Since the proposal submitted to the Island Council for decision-making was not explicit enough, the decision now leaves room for interpretation,” Registrar Shuzelle Pieter states in a letter to Island Governor Rijna in office as chairman of the Island Council. Pieter’s position follows earlier consultations in the Presidium, in which the opposition in particular pointed out the lack of clarity.


Pieter also states that there is hardly any other option, than to put the proposal to the vote again. “In my position, I cannot just proceed to signing a regulation knowing that the underlying decision is open to multiple interpretations (and discussion),” Pieter writes, among other things.

And: “In view of the above, taking into account the importance of this regulation for Bonaire and to prevent (more) ambiguity towards the people, I am forced to advise you to put this subject on the agenda again in the next decision-making meeting to ratify what is should be established”.


The situation gives a bitter sense of satisfaction to opposition leader Clark Abraham, who was the only one to point out that the correct documents may not have been submitted before the vote. Abraham, however, was ridiculed by all parties, after which a vote moved ahead. 

Abraham believes that the situation that has now arisen shows the arrogance of the coalition parties in particular. “If you explain to them that their actions will cause trouble, you are accused of being annoying, being negative and only wanting to obstruct matters,” says Abraham. It is not the first time that Abraham denounces the arrogance of power displayed by the Coalition. “You always hear that they decide, as they form the majority. But now, as is often the case, the island is left carry the brunt of such action”.


There has been a great deal of discussion online about the introduction of the so-called Tourist Entry Tax. Although many people support the principle of a certain levy, there is much criticism that the Island Council increased the amount by no less than 50% at the stroke of a pen and that – contrary to the draft regulation – tourists suddenly for every time they entering the island have to pay again. While the new arrangement won’t make much of a difference to tourists staying in a hotel, it does make a difference to those visiting, for example, family or friends.

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