Island Governor Rijna responds to critical article Follow the Money

KRALENDIJK- Island Governor Edison Rijna of the Public Entity Bonaire responded on Sunday morning to a critical of the Dutch news site for investigative journalism Follow the Money.

“As a result of a publication in which the integrity of me as Island Governor and that of (unnamed) Commissioners as well as civil servants is discussed, I emphasize that I have always served the interests of Bonairean society in good conscience and will continue to do so”, according to a statement put out by Reina on Sunday morning.

Governor Rijna is of the opinion that the questions raised by the article were already been discussed extensively – both in the Island Council and in the media. “At the time, this led to the Chogogo and Sunset files being evaluated by an independent party, because the Executive Council and the Island Council consider it important that action should be taken accurately against illegal (construction) activities. Both evaluations, which are public, have confirmed that the permit granting process and the implementation in the field of supervision and enforcement need improvement. Due to the turbulent growth of Bonaire, the implementation capacity of the government apparatus has no longer proved to be sufficient.”

Rijna also says he is therefore s pleased by the fact that agreements have been laid down in the Administrative Agreement on the strengthening the civil service, with resources made available by the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations. “I would like to emphasize that long before the publication of both reports, I spoke with the State Secretary for Kingdom Relations about improving and strengthening the Supervision and Enforcement Directorate. This process is in full swing,” said the Lieutenant Governor. Furthermore, Rijna reports that two years ago, as a result of reticence within the official organization that he observed in reporting (alleged) integrity violations, he set up an Integrity Office.

Private interests

Rijna firmly dismisses the suggestion that he would take private interests into account in his actions. “Clear agreements have been made about this within the Executive Council, which every Council  member must adhere to: If files are discussed in which someone from his or her personal circle of contacts is involved, the Council member concerned does not participate in the deliberations,” says Rijna.

“In my opinion, the publication does not do justice to the efforts made by the Executive Council, the Island Council, the civil service, my cabinet and myself – with the constructive support of the ministries involved – to raise the quality of Governance to a higher level. It is important that all of us devote our time and energy to this process,” concludes Rijna in his letter to the press.

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