Kralendijk- Although the Bonaire Islands Council is hardly ever the scene of great camaraderie and high-level discussions, these days the animosity between especially the MPB and PDB-councilman Abraham on the one side and the governing coalition of UPB and supporting fractions on the other side is more obvious than ever.
Currently the parties are squabbling mainly about two issues, namely the way the 2018 budget has been put together and the issue of potential screening of (potential) commissioners.
Dissident member of the Partido Democratico Boneriano (PDB) fraction, Robby Beukenboom, called former commissioner and MPB-fraction leader Joselito Statia a ’traitor’, after the latter had sent out a letter to the Dutch Government with question marks about the 2018 budget presented by the governing coalition.
Tensions rose especially after the State Secretary of Kingdom Relations, Raymond Knops, sent out a letter to the Executive Council notifying them that the Dutch Government wanted 14 extra days to study the proposed budget due to various “perceived issues”.
As Joselito Statia in the recent past held the position of commissioner in charge of Finance, he has an intimate knowledge of not only the way to compile the island’s budget, but also of relevant issues regarding the process and the difficult choices that come with it. Both the MPB-fraction as PDB island council member Clark Abraham have been quite critical about the choice of the current coalition government to cut the budgets of various foundations on the island, including the Fundashon Cas Boneriano (FCB), the Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Corporation Bonaire (TCB). Said organizations on their turn have also been highly critical of government’s decision to cut the budget and especially the way it was done -according to them- ‘without any prior consultation or communication’.
A second topic leading to tensions between the parties is the issue of an integrity screening for (future) commissioners. The call for integrity screening was initially raised by dissent PDB-council lady Maruga Janga, who demanded from island governor Edison Rijna that he assessed alleged ‘intolerable behavior’ by PDB-councilman and former commissioner Clark Abraham. Abraham, who has recently been dealing with some personal issues had -according to Janga- at various moments displayed behavior not becoming of an island council member or, even worse in her opinion, a commissioner.
A motion subsequently put forth by the MPB and Abraham to establish a formal procedure for the screening of future commissioners, was however voted down by the governing coalition, raising question marks about the intentions and priorities of Janga and her political allies. More and more it seems that the wish to damage popular political leader Clark Abraham, and a personal vendetta between Beukenboom/Janga, is greater than the wish to ensure integrity in future commissioners and the Executive Council on a whole.