Reaction by Island Governor Rijna: “Misleading”

“Is the Lieutenant Governor still credible?” is the question that was raised on the website in an opinion piece about the Executive Council’s decision-making relating to Sunset Beach Resort. Because this article, as well as several previous news items publicized by this website and other media, is based on factual inaccuracies and uses suggestive wording, I feel compelled to set things straight. 

Firstly, the voting procedure is mentioned. The author states that in the first round I “actively joined in the voting”. This is correct. The BES Public Entities Act (WolBES) and the rules of procedure state that the Lieutenant Governor is required to participate in all votes. It is not even allowed for me to cast a blank vote. The author also states that I “might even use my chairman’s vote to be the decisive vote in the event of a tie.” That too is correct. This rule is laid down in the same law.  

I am reproached for regularly expressing my concerns about the impact that unbridled tourism growth has on our society, the quality of life in Kralendijk, the infrastructure, social cohesion, our culture and nature. The author calls this a “lamentation”.  Personally, I see it as a cry from the heart to the local politicians and stakeholders to protect our community against undesirable developments.

This is my personal opinion. And obviously, during deliberations in the Executive Council when it is expected that, in accordance with the Executive Council’s Rules of Procedure, I take a position in my role as Lieutenant Governor I cannot take this opinion into account. In such cases my personal preferences do not matter as at that moment I simply must respect the basic principles of good governance. This means that I must be guided by the advice the civil services provide me. If they establish that -on the basis of their knowledge and detailed investigation- there is no objection to a request or application, then their advice can only be rejected if other, very serious concerns are known. This is vital because the government must be predictable: citizens, entrepreneurs and investors must be able to trust in the fact that decision-making is not dictated by arbitrariness.

The article mentions the Chogogo issue. This is a good example of where the Lieutenant Governor may use the power granted to him in order to prevent worse things from happening, by playing a mediation role. In this case the consideration was one of proportionality. After all, there was a situation that only had to be permitted for a short period of time, so that it would not lead to damage for multiple parties.

Furthermore, the author refers to an integrity issue surrounding Bonaire Holding Maatschappij and alleges that I have prevented an independent investigation from being conducted. This claim is verifiably factually incorrect. In actual fact, two investigations have been carried out by independent organizations that are highly experienced in the field of government integrity investigations. I have ordered these investigations myself and I publically announced the main results. The full investigation results were submitted to the Island Council in confidence. After that it was up to the Island Council -as the elected representative of the people- to decide which consequences would follow. 

In the matter concerning the issues of the roundabout, an external independent research bureau has also been engaged in accordance with a decision made by the Infrastructure Steering Group with me as their chairman.

In his final example, the author suggests that I put my private interests above those of the public. The reasoning being that I had attended a project presentation in my capacity as a member of the Executive Council and my partner is employed by this project’s developer. Dozens of these meetings take place every year but decisions are never made during these occasions. Decisions are made in Executive Council meetings, without the presence of any stakeholders. This also happened in this case. And, if the procedures so require, the Island Council ultimately has the last word.

I consider it to be a very serious matter that multiple media outlets have released so much verifiably incorrect information about this issue without properly checking it. The media have a responsibility to safeguard the democratic constitutional state, not to undermine it. In this case, the institution of Lieutenant Governor has been wrongly discredited and faith in democracy has been damaged unnecessarily. I hope that from now on the media will take these words to heart and that they will take their journalistic responsibility seriously when considering publishing these kinds of allegations.


Just as took the liberty to write an editorial to stimulate discussion about certain situations and topics, it is the right of persons to have a different opinion about it, and to react to it. That is also the reason why publishes the response of Lieutenant Governor Rijna in its entirety.

With implicityly suggesting that is in agreement with all arguments of the Governor, we will our response to two specific points raised by Mr. Rijna. The first point is the integrity investigation into alleged violations within the Bonaire Holding Company. According to information from, and also explained in this way by the Island Governor in the Island Council, Rijna decided which parts of the total allegations, as drawn up by temporary director of BHM, Ben Oleana, were submitted to an independent agency and which were not. Likewise, the lieutenant governor decided which conclusions were made public and which were not. Choices have been made in this regard by the Lieutenant Governor. Others may have a different opinion about the approach taken, without in this manner discrediting the institution of the Island Governor, as Rijna states.

A second point is the presentation which took place about the Kings Beach Resort, in which the partner of the lieutenant governor is involved as a consultant. stated that, in order to avoid the mere possibility of (an alledged) conflict of interest, it would have been desirable if the Island Governor had not been present at that presentation, or had specifically pointed out the existence of his (private) relationship with the consultant. 

Precisely to avoid doubts about decisions or a future vote of the lieutenant governor in this specific file (the risk of a PERCEIVED conflict of interest), it is necessary that extra care is exercised if there is any personal relationship or any personal element in a specific projects.

Deel dit artikel