Kralendijk- Bonaire’s Island Council wants the new coalition agreement of a newly formed Dutch government to include a firm commitment for a social minimum for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba as soon as possible. This social minimum should be based on the actual, necessary costs of living.
Pending the decision-making and implementation process, citizens who need this should be given a Caribbean allowance, which can cover their costs of living.
A motion, prepared by MPB leader Elvis Tjin Asjoe calling on such a firm commitment, was adopted unanimously in the island council on Tuesday evening.
The motion criticizes the attitude of the Netherlands towards the population of the Caribbean Netherlands. Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, every individual has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family and also to benefits in the event of unemployment, illness, disability, old age or other lack of means of subsistence.
In addition, under the Dutch Constitution, the Dutch government is responsible for the livelihood of the population and Dutch people who cannot provide for themselves are entitled to government assistance. In 2017, the Netherlands was reminded by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of its obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and to ensure that all residents of the Netherlands have full protection of economic and enjoy social rights.
According to those behind the motion, the Dutch government has only established a social minimum for the European part of the Netherlands with amounts based on the necessary cost of living for different households, which serves as the basis for minimum wages and benefits. The Netherlands has however not set a social minimum for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba based on the necessary costs of living.
The lack of establishing this social minimum can be seen as a violation of duty by Dutch Government, which took over the responsiblityu for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba on October 10, 2010.
Despite the fact that the Dutch government commissioned research into the costs of living on the islands in 2018, the results are not translated into the determination of a social minimum based on the necessary costs of living. Instead, so-called ‘benchmarks’ are appointed, against which wages and benefits should grow.
Until now, this has not or only marginally led to an improvement in the income position and purchasing power of the population of the islands. In doing so, the Netherlands has knowingly and willingly maintained for years unequal treatment between the population in the European part of the Netherlands and the population in the Caribbean part of the Netherlands.
Because the Island Council does not expect that the current caretaker government will no longer change its policy regarding the introduction of a social minimum in the Caribbean Netherlands, it asks the new government to be formed to correct the unequal treatment of its citizens in the Caribbean Netherlands compared to citizens in European countries. to abolish the Netherlands as soon as possible and still introduce a social minimum based on the real cost of living.