Sunday , October 1 2023

Enforcement of nature and environmental legislation in Caribbean Netherlands is below par

According to the Law Enforcement Council, the enforcement of nature and environmental legislation needs improvement. Research by the Council has indicated that there is little monitoring and enforcement in the Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba).

Organizations look at each other and hardly work together. Personnel charged with the enforcement by the public entities do not use their capacities to contribute to enforcement. As an example, the Council mentions the ‘goat problem’. On all three islands it is forbidden to release goats and to let them roam, but none of the islands enforce on this prohibition. The consequences for the vegetation on land and for the corals in the sea are disastrous.

Lacking also are statutory policy plans, a responsibility of both the public entities and the national government.

The police, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the local conservation organizations and the public entities will have to agree on who is responsible for what. According to the Council, there is no doubt that additional efforts are needed. In its report, the Council identifies a number of necessary steps to ensure monitoring and enforcement in the area of nature and environmental legislation, and makes a number of concrete recommendations with regards to the organizations concerned.

In the Council’s investigation, the focus was on one of the main threats to nature on and around the islands, namely roaming cattle. The Council also looked emphatically at enforcing the prohibition of dumping waste. After all, the natural beauty of the islands is the calling card for tourists, on which the islands largely depend.

Among other things, the research has shown that plans to tackle the goat problem are being worked on, but that there has been no or barely any follow-up. In terms of the waste management, the Council has found major differences between the three islands. Saba is acting immediately when waste is dumped illegally, and the island makes a particularly clean impression. In Sint Eustatius there is an increase in successfully tackling illegal waste dumping. On the other hand, Bonaire has not become cleaner in recent years, and enforcement on dumping waste does hardly take place.

For a full version of the report (executive summary in English) click here or consult the

Council’s website:

Canadian - American - Dutch volunteer team maintains Saba trails
May 18, 2020: Covid-19 update - Saba situation is stable (Updated with address)