photo: John Samson

THE HAGUE – For the first time inhabitants on Bonaire, Saba, and Statia are allowed to vote during the elections for the Senate. There’s a lack of attention for the elections both on the islands and in The Hague.

John Samson, reporting from The Hague [English subtitles]

On March 20th inhabitants in the European part of the Kingdom will elect their new Provincial Councilmembers and indirectly the new Senators. On Bonaire and Saba new Island Councilmembers will be elected. Together with Statia, the islanders will also elect new Senators.

Not a lot of attention for the islands
The different political parties in The Hague have made a special election program for almost every province but not for the three special municipalities which get to vote for the first time. Why? Only 50Plus commented on this when asked about it.

“I like this question”, says the spokesperson for 50Plus. “As a journalist with 45 years of experience I can already see the headline: Parties do nothing for the Caribbean. There are two paragraphs dedicated to the Caribbean islands in our election program but that’s neither here or there.”

“The question becomes: which party does the most for the overseas territories? Within 50Plus we will react incidentally. For example with emergency aid for Sint Maarten, fighting corruption on Statia, and helping when it comes to Venezuela.”

Who to vote for?
So no special election programs for the islands. Whoever wants to know what the political parties want to accomplish when it comes to the islands has to scour the websites of the parties and look for the ‘BES-eilanden’ tab.

D66 on Bonaire
It’s spring break this week, so there are no meetings planned. Parliamentarian Antje Diertens (D66) is combining her yearly vacation to Curaçao with a day trip to Bonaire to campaign.

According to Diertens she’s not going to Bonaire to try and get votes for the D66 senators but to mobilize as many voters as possible and get them to the polls. “I want to show that D66 cares about the islands.”

All of Statia’s votes will go to the CDA
Bonaire, Saba, and Statia don’t belong to a province but fall directly under the government of the Netherlands. Inhabitants vote for the Senate through the local candidates who form an electoral college. Whoever gets elected, can vote in May to determine the composition of the Senate.

Because the Dutch government temporarily took over the government of Statia, the island council elections have been postponed there. The only local party on Statia to nominate candidates for the electoral college is DP headed up by Koos Sneek. The CDA will almost certainly receive all the votes cast on Statia because the DP is her sister party.

There are 75 seats to be won in the Senate. The three islands are good for 0.11 seat (Bonaire 0.09 seat, Saba 0.01 seat, and Statia 0.01 seat).