Bonaire has a new executive council after MPB councilor Cyrill Vrolijk declared himself independent. In less than three days, Demokrat (PDB) and M21 signed an agreement with him.
On Tuesday, a motion of no confidence was submitted against deputies Hennyson Thielman (MPB), James Kroon (UPB) and Jolinda Craane (UPB). It was expected that the opposition (4 out of 9 seats) would vote in favor. But it came as a surprise that the MPB faction leader would help the motion gain a majority.
The accusation is that government documents have been leaked to the media from the coalition of UPB and MPB to disadvantage political opponents. “I entered politics to work for the people and not for some small privileged group,” he said. Vrolijk subsequently declared himself independent.
‘We didn’t see this coming’
For MPB leader Hennyson Thielman, Vrolijk’s decision came as a bolt from the blue. “This is painful for us, we did not see this coming. We have had no indication that Cyrill is angry or dissatisfied. In fact, he is still vice-chairman of the party.”
For the MPB, it is their third politician to leave. Daisy Coffie has also previously declared herself independent and won a seat with her party M21 in the elections in April 2023. Former deputy Nina den Heyer of MPB, one of the most popular politicians for years, did not support her own party during the election campaign, but Demokrat.
Tackling transparency and poverty
All eyes on Bonaire are now focused on the new coalition, which entails the promise of Demokrat/M21/Vrolijk to put ‘the Bonairean’ first. “We promise that we will be even more transparent,” says Abraham (Demokrat) during a press conference.
The three parties say they want to tackle poverty. “It cannot be the case that we are one of the richest countries in the world, but that we are treated in such a way,” said independent island council member Vrolijk. “We must ensure that the entire population now notices a positive difference in their wallets.”
Less interference from The Hague
Party leader Clark Abraham wants to focus on the relationship with the Netherlands. Abraham wants less interference from the ministries, so that “the population has a more direct say” on the island, he said earlier. According to Demokrat, the current structure as a special municipality (officially: ‘public body’) provides ‘enough space to carry out tasks autonomously’.
The administrative agreement states, among other things, that the council will organize a ‘national dialogue’ about the bond with the Netherlands. M21 and Demokrat said during the election campaign that they were open to a new referendum.
The parties want, among other things, a special fund for youth, in order to develop talent. The idea is that this will relieve parents and that entrepreneurs are also assured of an income, says Abraham. The poor roads are sustainably improved so that young people can also cycle safely.
Papiamentu is also receiving a lot of attention as far as the new coalition is concerned: people should receive better help from the government in their own language.
“We must help our society to stand up for their rights,” said Abraham. For example, how they can appeal decisions. “Many people don’t have the money to pay for a lawyer.”