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BONHATA achieves a significant victory in lawsuit over wastewater fee Bonaire

From the very beginning, BONHATA has fiercely resisted what they consider to be exorbitant levies.

KRALENDIJK- BONHATA has scored an important victory over the Government of Bonaire, when it comes to the rate of the wastewater fee for hotels and restaurants.

On August 9th, the judge ruled in a lawsuit brought by Bonaire Hotel and Tourism Association (BONHATA) on behalf of its members against the OLB. The OLB intended to charge hotels $600 per year per room and restaurants $600 per kitchen for discharging wastewater into the sewage system starting from January 1, 2023. The start date was postponed to October 1, 2023, after a preliminary hearing.

The judge determined that the wastewater ordinance, as established by the Island Council in December 2022, is at least inconsistent with the Public Entities BES Financial Act and the general principles of Good Governance. The judge declared the Wastewater Ordinance invalid for the part of the fee related to hotels and restaurants and therefore, it must not be applied from the effective date of October 1.

Criterion

The judge believes that the composition and quantity of discharged wastewater should be the criterion for determining the fee amount (following the ‘polluter pays’ principle as argued by BONHATA), rather than the criterion used by the OLB, stating that mainly hotels and restaurants should pay for sewage treatment.

The judge ordered the OLB to reimburse BONHATA for the legal costs. BONHATA was represented in this case by the law firm VANEPS.

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