Oorverdovend & de toekomst

August 9, 2021


Het nieuws dat in de komende drie jaar het aantal hotelkamers op het eiland met 65% zal groeien, was voor een van de leden van Bonaire Future Forum: Opportunities from Crisis, de heer Frederico Hernandez, aanleiding om een duidelijk geluid te laten horen.

Vermoedelijk was niet alleen dit bericht de reden voor het lid om klare taal te spreken. De bouw van nieuwe resorts, de verkoop van Plantage Bolivia, de verwachte groei van de bevolking – allemaal redenen om vragen te stellen bij de ontwikkeling van het eiland.

De opmerkingen en vragen van Frederico Hernandez :
No vision/policy for the last 10-20 years brings this kind of “news”. There is no infrastructure ready for growth. There is no housing for this kind of growth. There is no tourism product to offer for this kind of growth. If there is no change in policy within 2 years, Bonaire will be as Aruba within 5 years. Sorry to say but thank you all former bonarian politicians for this great future. Especially those who sold bonarian sole for a lousy $ 210,= per square meter. Can you speak out Burny Elhage, Ben Oleana, Edison Rijna, Giovanni Hart???????? It is all quiet from their side, where are the present politicians to question? Hennyson, James, Nina, Clark, Daisy and so on – the silence is “oorverdovend”. A governor who speaks about prostituting an island and signes off a deal for the price of a random street hooker, better must think about his position – he is out.

De beheerder van Bonaire Future Forum reageerde met:
Wow. Blunt criticism on the absence of comprehensive development planning on Bonaire. In this case, answers are requested from former / current politicians who may have overseen the approvals that have led to today’s Bonaire.
Is this criticism fair or unfair? What were we thinking? What are we thinking?
Does anyone want to speak out in defense of our past decisions, especially those responsible for them? They must have their reasons. We should give them the benefit of the doubt – for now — but subject their logic to the glare of public opinion.

In de discussie die volgde viel o.a. de bijdrage van Arxen Alders op:
All fair concerns. I share Frederico Hernandez ´s faith in local political actors to do the right things. In relation, I like to think (call me naive) there is a learning curve that the Bonairean community and public entity are in.

Yes, areas of our governmental output are sometimes labeled as tardy, shitty, fishy or contradictory. But at the same time I think there is a risk of thinking too easily about what it takes to get on a ´better track´. That track being all the good things this tiny municipality and many other municipalities and countries around the world strive for (tranquility, social equity, sustainability, blue destination, SDGs, etc).

I’m talking in a structural sense, not in the sense of successfully constructing 1 roundabout at the first try or the personal credentials of politicians. Pointing fingers to former and current politicians is at its place seeing the responsibilities they have, but they do not operate in a vacuum. It takes two to tango – government and community/electorate. Notions like ´voting them away´ and a ´coup de grace´ risk implying easy fixes. The assumption that this will break down ´traditional politics´ remains to be seen. There is mounting research that argues that what we are labeling as ´traditional politics´ (in this thread), is in its many forms and facets part of the range of outcomes that small scale communities produce – whether it be a US county, a Dutch gemeente or an island (see e.g. J. Gerring & W. Veenendaal, Population and Politics: the impact of scale, Cambridge 2020).

I absolutely support a better representation of our demographic constellation in political participation. Having said that, the subtle link that is sometimes made between the possible advent of a local political party with a Dutch European hallmark and subsequent better governance is a bit unsettling and misplaced, though. I do not pretend to have a silver bullet for the legitimate concerns that exist about the trajectory of Bonaire. But a good place to press on, which I believe the government does, is poverty reduction. Another good place would be to make better use of existing vehicles of participation, e.g. NGOs and political parties themselves – especialy for those places that need further pressing, e.g. infra.

De reden waarom ik hier fragmenten uit deze discussie plaats, is de hoop dat meer mensen zich laten horen op de Facebookpagina van het Bonaire Future Forum: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BonaireFutureForum
Ja, je moet je even aanmelden. Zestienhonderd mensen gingen u voor.

De diepe gedachten die ik heb bij de opmerkingen van de heer Fernandez en de beheerder van de pagina, laten noodgedwongen nog even op zich wachten. Dat heeft als voordeel dat ik vandaag niet hoef te kiezen uit de toon van de knorrige, oude cynicus of die van de ogenschijnlijk rustige observator. Om maar twee van de personen te noemen die in mij huizen.

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