Dutch Parliament indirectly gives Governor Rijna slap on the wrist

KRALENDIJK- A motion submitted by MPs Lammert van Raan, Jorien Wuite and Sylvana Simons that limits the role of the Island Governors of the Public Entities when it comes to their ability to vote on sensitive files, such as the granting of permits or amendments to zoning plans, achieved a majority of votes in the Dutch parliament on Thursday.

“The House, after hearing the deliberations, noting that Island Governors of the Public Entities Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius should have a neutral role in the spirit of the WOL BES in granting permits and/or amending zoning plans, has ruled that Island Governors in granting of permits and changing zoning plans should actually play a neutral role,” according to the text motion that was passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday.


Although the motion does not mention Rijna or Bonaire anywhere, every sane person will understands that the motion arises from the voting behaviour of Island Governor Edison Rijna about  the construction permit for the Sunset Beach Resort. Much against the wishes of commissioners Nina den Heyer and Hennyson Thielman, Governor Rijna, together with Commissioner James Kroon, voted in favour of granting the controversial building permit.

Rijna’s voting behaviour not only led to a stalemate within the Executive Council, but also to a full blown political crisis between the two governing parties (MPB and UPB, ed.) Lieutenant Governor Rijna subsequently and consequently refused to justify his voting behaviour in the Island Council, other than by stating that he thought he had a duty to vote. However, the Lieutenant Governor was unable or unwilling to justify why he voted in favour, while the Sunset Beach Resort’s plans go against policy established by the Bonaire Island Council.

Due to the adopted motion, the possibility for Island Governors of the Public Entities to vote within the BC when it comes to permits or changes to zoning plans has now been officially limited.

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