The Daily Herald writes that Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba are to decide on a constitutional referendum and whether it will be held before or after the evaluation of the current status, Secretary-General of the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Richard van Zwol emphasised. “That is the local autonomy. It’s really the local government and Island Council’s move. The Netherlands is neutral in this matter,” he told Belkis Osepa of Caribisch Netwerk.
Van Zwol is on a working visit to the Caribbean Netherlands to prepare the evaluation of the current status of the three islands as overseas special public bodies of the Netherlands. He is also consulting public officials employed in the Caribbean Netherlands. However, he will not be drawn into commenting on a possible referendum and when it will be held. A majority of the political parties on Bonaire recently reached a consensus to hold another referendum.
However, Van Zwol will ask questions, if a referendum is held before the evaluation. “In that case I’ll want to know what options the voters will be offered and on which they are to give their opinion. Ultimately it’s a consideration for the Island Councils.” According to the secretary general, if an island wishes a different relation with the Netherlands within the Kingdom, the Dutch Government is to enter into a discussion. “There are two sides of the coin. If a majority decides to break off relations with the Netherlands and the Kingdom, it is their right to self-determination.
If an island wishes a different kind of relation it will also affect the Netherlands and the Dutch Government is to enter into that discussion.”