The Dutch government is not obliged to translate all documents relating to the Dutch public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba into the English and Papiamentu language. Ministries may individually decide to translate their policy plans for the islands. Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk stated this in response to written questions by Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Wassila Hachchi of the democratic D66 party.
Hachchi had asked the Minister why the Nature Policy Plan for the Caribbean Netherlands was only published in the Dutch language, which makes the document incomprehensible for a large part of the population of the islands. She asked whether policy documents of the individual ministries were standard translated into the local languages of the islands. Plasterk explained in his letter of July 8 that the Implementation Law of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba defined the regulations for the use of Papiamentu on Bonaire and English on St. Eustatius and Saba. This only concerns the communication, verbal and in writing, between the island residents and the local government entities, the Island Council, the National Government Representative (Rijksvertegenwoordiger) and persons working in the public entities under the responsibility of the Dutch government. The government entities use the Dutch language in their written communication. They may choose to communicate in Papiamentu or English, if this is more effective, but only if it doesn’t harm the interests of third parties, the Minister stated.
Dutch Ministries are not compelled to translate their policy plans in the English or Papiamentu language. However, they decide on their own to do so. The Ministry of Economic Affairs has decided to translate the Nature Policy Plan for the Caribbean Netherlands in English, not in Papiamentu. The English version will be published mid-August. The handling of this policy plan in the Second Chamber is planned for after the summer recess, which ends in the first week of September.