Will Johnson on Radio Saba: “There is no such thing as BES”

Johnson seen here on an archive photo of the BES-reporter in conversation with PCN board member Gerard Bergsma. Photo: BES-Reporter

The Bottom, Saba- Former WIPM strong man and one of the most well-respected former Dutch Caribbean politicians, Will Johnson is of the opinion that there is no such thing as the BES-islands.

The term BES is derived from the letters of the 3 smaller ‘Dutch Caribbean’ islands of Bonaire, Eustatius and Saba (BES) and was, on the way to 10/10/10, often used to refer to the three public entities which came into effect with the dissolution of the country Netherlands Antilles. As of late the term CAS has been in use for similar reasons, to refer to the three ‘autonomous’ countries, Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten.

Johnson expressed his opinion in a radio interview on Saba Radio with host Dave Levenstone who had invited Johnson for the 10th anniversary of the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles.


“Let me tell you this Dave”, said Johnson. “There is no such thing as BES”. According to Johnson, Saba has their own separate status as well as a far reaching autonomy.

Johnson said he understood that Bonaire was happy at the time to get a certain coordinating role for the 3 public entities. “There are about 700 people employed in Bonaire by the RCN, so of course they are happy about that”, said Johnson, who is of the opinion that when push comes to shove, Saba has to deal with their own affairs in direct contact with The Netherlands.


Johnson on the occasion also spoke a lot about the history of the islands, leading up to 10/10/10. The former politician is also well-known as historian and as a writer, on the 6 islands of the former Netherlands Antilles.

Levenstone, at the end of the program said he enjoyed to hear Johnson speak about the history of the islands in general, and Saba in particular. He also said that he would gladly invite the former politician to come back and tell listeners more about the history of Saba and its people. Johnson, who loves to talk about history and always makes his stories quite interesting by telling numerous anecdotes of things which happened in the past, said he was happy to accept Levenstone’s invitation.

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