From the beginning Bonaire has insisted that the Dutch police force should take over responsibility in BES, once the new constitutional arrangement takes effect. This has found its way into articles 11 and 12 of the Final Declaration. It was agreed that Holland will assume responsibility for law enforcement in BES (art. 11). And to fulfill this responsibility Holland will organize law enforcement in cooperation with the police forces of the other islands (probably mainly Curaçao).
What is this?
On the face of it, it looks like Bonaire got nothing. After all, the same police-officers will be doing the job of policing. But look closer. Holland has agreed to accept responsibility. Responsibility is now in the hands of the Antillean government. So the change is significant.
Proposals have been made to create a new police region (precinct) for BES under
the Dutch Police Act. Now this would really make a huge difference. It is our
understanding that these proposals are backed by the Bonairean government.
Readers should understand, however, that there are 4 partners at the table: Holland, Saba, Statia and Bonaire.
This ARCO-edition is the very first (!) attempt by the media to inform the BES-population as a whole. If readers in Saba and Statia read this and agree with Bonaire’s proposal, they can inform their representatives, which may help pushing the constitutional process forward. If the public agrees that it is a good idea to let the Dutch police force take over policing the BES-islands, they should tell their representatives now. This may also help persuade Holland.
Become active, get involved
As always in any democracy, if the people don’t get involved, everything will be decided for you by the politicians. That is not the way democracy should work. It is understandable that you have work to do and cannot always be involved in political activism. But this is a time where you should make some time to do so anyway. We know, for instance, that many Sabans are not happy with the Curaçao-police. If we are right in this, now is the time to speak up!