Politicians Bonaire respond to fatal road traffic accidents

The lagging amount in Free Allowance hampers the execution of tasks on a local government level, most notably maintenance and infrastructure, according to Cft. Photo I Harald Linkels

KRALENDIJK – After many citizens already expressed an opinion on Social Media about the death of a cyclist on Christmas Day in a hit & run accident, on Wednesday two prominent politicians contributed with a press release about the recent fatal accidents.

Political leader of the Movementu di Pueblo Bonairiano (MPB), Commissioner Elvis Tjin Asjoe says that in recent days he has often been approached – via emails and apps, but also personally – by fellow islanders who are concerned about road safety on our island. “I get messages and sometimes also videos of accidents that don’t make the news because – fortunately – they ended well and now one was injured. Which, when I see the images, can be called a miracle in some cases”.

At the same time, Tjin Asjoe points out that there are various causes for the increasing road safety. “People often point to the poor condition of our roads, but I think that’s too easy. We must also dare to look at ourselves. I go running or cycling every day. If I wasn’t always very careful, I would have ended up in the hospital a long time ago due to the reckless driving behaviour of motorists. I hear from many that they have the same experience”, says Tjin Asjoe.

According to Tjin Asjoe, the tragic accidents should not be a reason to reduce running, walking or cycling. “Because sufficient exercise is important for our health. More separate walking and cycling paths contribute to safety – also because of the increasing crowds – but that cannot be achieved overnight. That is why I repeat: let us also look at our own behavior. Drinking is involved in quite a few accidents.”

More critical

The reaction of opposition Island Council lady Daisy Coffie (M21) is more critical towards the local government. Coffie said she had initially hoped that the renovation of the roads would also lead to a completely different and better design of the road network.

“However, we have had to conclude that this idea came to an end at the same time as the completion of the Kaya Nikiboko South and that due to political populism without vision, the funds for the rehabilitation of our roads were cut and that the old system of here and there was transferred to patch up, with the result that all the main roads leading to the city centre have become unsafe”.

Coffie points to the course of events with the roundabout on the Kaya Amsterdam. “To this day no one has been held accountable for the debacle with the roundabout at Kaya Amsterdam. We also point to to what has happened on Kaya L.D. Gerharts, the Kaya Nikiboko Noord, the Kaya Grandi up to Voz di Bonaire, Kaya Gobernador Debrot up to the roundabout at Hotel Chogogo and other repaired roads. All these roads have only been given a new single layer of asphalt, while they have remained narrow with no sidewalk and no cycle path,” says Coffie.

The Council lady also points to the fact that signage such as the lines and traffic signs that must indicate priority roads are often missing.

Flawed infrastructure

The reactions of deputy Tjin Asjoe, in particular, have received acclaim, but also criticism. “Too easy to refer to the behaviour of road users without acknowledging that the flawed infrastructure is a crucial factor in what happened,” someone writes on Facebook in response to the message from the MPB leader.

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