photo: Pixabay

Happy New Year! Will 2023 be a year of significant progress and equal treatment for the people living in the Caribbean municipalities? These are the New Year’s wishes of various residents and politicians of Bonaire, Saba and Statia.

“As far as I am concerned, we must achieve equal treatment of the inhabitants of the Caribbean Netherlands as quickly as possible,” says Edison Rijna, Island Governor of Bonaire. ”

“That means that we have to work rapidly towards a decent social system. Equality also means: equal opportunities for everyone to develop themselves and to fully participate in society.”

Behavior on social media
At the beginning of 2023, the highest administrators of Saba and Bonaire point out on the behavior on social media. It would be good if people would be a bit nicer online this year, they think.

“(A)social media is regretfully making people more polarized”, says Island Governor Jonathan Johnson of Saba. “But instead of tuning in online, we need to spend more quality time with those around us.”

“Let’s be nice to each other. Also on social media,” says Rijna. “Bonaire is just a small speck in a turbulent world. We desperately need each other to build a good future for everyone.”

‘Let’s listen more to each other’
“My wish for the people of Saba in particular, is to look forward to opportunities provided and reflect back on where we have come from. Our island has changed over the past years and change is a given but we also need to protect what makes us unique.”

“For the people living in our Kingdom, my wish is that we learn about and listen to each other more. Despite the many changes some experience on our islands it is our responsibility to help those in need.”

‘Hold on things that unite us’
Government commissioner Alida Francis is hopeful for Statia. “My wish for 2023 is that we hold fast more on the things that unite us and focus on the things we have in common. This is the way for true progress, the route for further development and the recive for a more prosperous Statia society.”

“Despite the global economic challenges of 2022, Statia can be immensely proud of everything we have achieved.” Yet, she says, there is ‘a lot of work to be done’ for 2023.

It mainly concerns issues that political The Hague will have to solve, in cooperation with St. Eustatius. “Areas for further improvement include healthcare referral system, banking, sustainable and affordable airlift, poverty alleviation, improvement of quality of life for Statian students in the Netherlands.”

“These matters are taken up in a cooperation agreement signed between the the local and national governments in June 2022.”

Elections coming up in March
In three months’ time, on March 15, there will be council elections for Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius. With the turn of the year, the campaign season also starts.

“I hope that out of respect for us voters, the participating parties will campaign honestly, with an open mind and on content. In other words: let’s put our focus on the matter, not the person,” says Island Governor Rijna. “Of course, this does not only apply to politicians.”

In the streets of Kralendijk (Bonaire), many people wish for a more equal treatment from The Hague. Also, they hope that Bonaireans will see more solidarity towards each other. ‘So that we can form a front’ against politician in The Hague, so says a man. “Bonaire also matters.”