Island Governor Rijna remains vague about motive for voting behavior about Sunset Beach Resort

PDB leader Clark Abraham keeps pointing out that the governor has no obligation to vote if he doesn’t want to

KRALENDIJK – Those who watched the public debate of the Island Council on Wednesday evening, during which, among other things, the permit for the Sunset Beach Hotel was discussed, with the hope of becoming much wiser, was somewhat disappointed.

Just like a week earlier, the three commissioners each individually indicated why they are for or against granting the permit. Commissioner Hennyson Thielman and Nina den Heyer, both MPB, were a little more talkative than last time. Both indicated that the resort did not fit in with the environment and that they saw other objections, such as the traffic situation on site and the lack of parking space. The two commissioners of the blue party also believe that granting a permit for a resort of 245 rooms on balance goes against the policy of pursuing boutique hotels with a maximum of 100 rooms.


In addition, Commissioner Den Heyer indicated that the very low unemployment on the island cannot in fact be a motive for large-scale development. “This carries the danger that we build resorts for which the employees have to come from outside,” says Den Heyer.

As in the previous debate, Commissioner Kroon (UPB) remained in favor of granting the permit. Group member Esther Bernabela seemed to stand up for her ‘own’ commissioner. “We have to be careful not to get a name that makes any investment on the island difficult,” Bernabela said.


Most attention, however, went to the words of Island Governor Edison Rijna. He was the conspicuous absentee last week in the debate about the controversial permit, but was present in the island parliament on Wednesday evening.

When asked by the Partido Demokrátiko Boneriano (PDB), Rijna remained remarkably vague. “The application had to be voted on. I should abstain from voting only in the event of a conflict of interest. Because there is no conflict of interest, I have cast my vote,” said Rijna. PDB Group leader Clark Abraham pointed out to Rijna that casting a vote was not an obligation, but an option. Rijna did not respond to this and kept repeating himself.

Particularly striking was the fact that Rijna did motivate why he had voted at all, but did not explain why he voted in favor of granting the permit. Even if the Island Governor was of the opinion that voting was mandatory, he could also have voted with Den Heyer and Thielman, as a result of which the requested building permit would subsequently have been rejected. By voting in favor, Rijna created a stalemate between the members of the Island Council. 

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