In their Editorial, The Daily Herald writes today the following. The Dutch Government recognises the right of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba to hold referenda on the constitutional future, but sees it as separate from the planned five-year evaluation of the renewed relations within the Kingdom that went into effect on 10-10-10 (see related story). Especially Statia may be disappointed, as its delegation at the recent “Caribbean Netherlands Week” talks announced such a referendum next year and wants the result to be part of the evaluation in 2015.
While certain politicians in The Hague obviously are hoping the island chooses for independence, limiting the evaluation to the current status or something similar is sensible. After all, it took two referenda on all the five islands and several decades of meetings, reports and deliberations to finally agree on the reforms that also spelled the end of the Netherlands Antilles.
Of course, the territories always maintain their right of self-determination, but a referendum is very much a means rather than a goal. In other words, there should be a clear idea of what one wants to achieve, or at least what viable options will be offered. The question is whether there are that many realistic alternatives left at this point.
With no Netherlands Antilles to go back to, barring full independence it appears in any case that such choices are now few and far between. Moreover, as long as St. Eustatius remains part of the Netherlands or even the Dutch Kingdom, The Hague will have to give its blessings to any major changes. Considering there are already ongoing struggles with adjusting to the new system, this is not likely to happen.