Council lady Yona Chirino (UPB): Conference Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba definitely not a flop

Island Council members Roderick Groenman (l) and Yona Chirino during the program 'Op de Klippen' last Saturday. Photo: Op de Klippen

KRALENDIJK – According to council lady Yona Chirino-Felida (UPB), one can certainly not speak of a flop, when it comes to a recent conference on Sint Maarten, where Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba came together to discuss proposed changes to the WolBES and FinBES.

That’s what Chirino said on Saturday afternoon, accompanied by colleague Roderick Groenman, on the radio program ‘Op de Klippen’ on Mega FM.

The council members of the green party were invited by ‘Op de Klippen’ after the Dutch news site Dossier Koninkrijkrelaties described the summit as a complete failure.

“I find it unacceptable that the efforts of these three islands are belittled in this way by an outsider. Nor do I agree that we can speak of a flop. We have agreed on 17 out of a total of 21 points that we have discussed together,” said Chirino, considering this a fairly positive outcome.

Chirino was very critical of the reporting by journalist René Zwart from Dossier Koninkrijksrelaties. “What is René Zwart’s agenda? Who is he doing this for? What does he want to achieve?” were some of the questions Chirino asked in the program. Chirino also suggested that Zwart receives his information from certain individuals with a political motive. “Zwart was not present at the conference in Sint Maarten, but he still has almost all the information. That means it is being fed to him by certain people,” said Chirino. The UPB council lady also suggested that there are suspicions about who is feeding Zwart the information, but not wanting to make accusations about it now. “But the day will come when everything becomes clear,” Chirino concluded.


Council man Groenman also says that the discussions between the three islands are valuable and of great importance. “For years we have been trying to achieve a dialogue between the three islands. Although Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba are three sperate and very different islands, each with its own challenges, there are many important issues that concern all three islands. For example, what will happen to the position of the Kingdom Representative if abolished? What will replace his role? For example, do we find it desirable for someone sitting in The Hague to take over the duties of the Kingdom Representative? The Kingdom Representative is at least still locally present and knows what is happening here,” said Groenman.

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