H.E. Ambassador Mrs. Carla Barnett Secretary General Heads of Governments of the CARICOM, c/o CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Georgetown, Guyana
February 8, 2023
Subject: Bonaire Case with reference to Dutch Apology on the Agenda of the 44th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in Bahamas February 15th – 17th, 2023
With reference to the above-mentioned upcoming 44th Regular Meeting on the Agenda point “Dutch-Apology,” we would like your Honorable Barnett cooperation for the possibility to submit this urgent important letter/communication with the CARICOM Heads of States at your earliest convenience.
In this respect, we would like to add the following arguments for further considerations and discussions and actions based on the CARICOM Integration and Reparations vision and trajectory based on the recent New Year’s statement of the incoming chairman of CARICOM, Hon. Philip Davis: “We all share common histories— trials, traumas, and triumphs. As regional neighbors, we have, through the years, encountered many of the same hurdles, beat down the same walls, and conquered the same challenges. And indeed, we owe it to ourselves and each other to recognize that we are and always have been in this together.” ….
The recent December 19th, 2022 “Dutch-Apology” is a voluntary confession and admission of the Dutch government’s crimes against humanity, our enslaved and colonized ancestors, and is an international legal and diplomatic mechanism for correction and reparation of the past crimes and the continuous Dutch colonization of Bonaire and Caribbean peoples in this present time.
1 - Bonerian ancestors as well as all other Caribbean islands were forced/made slaves by these colonizers. As with the sweat, blood, and tears of our ancestors on Bonaire, whole enslaved families, men, women, children, and also convicted enslaved ancestors from other sister islands were sentenced to labor on the saltpans as punishment and were worked to death in these pans of Bonaire. With a very short life span, they cultivated, harvested, and shipped thousands and thousands of tons of this “white gold” to Holland to grow their main economic fishing pillar, building their economy and enriching themselves into one of the world's richest nations. All by our ancestors’ free labor and short-lived lives in these horror salt plantations 2 - After the Dutch abolition law of 1863, our ancestors could not work for free for them anymore, the Dutch government spitefully decided to divide our island into five big parts and sold our ancestors lands to Europeans in an auction in 1868 and abandoned our ancestors to fend for themselves. 3 - Our peoples, on all levels were systematically and premeditated and denied all historical information on our slavery past and history as it was never mentioned nor was put in our school curriculum that is up today controlled and imposed by the Dutch Education Ministry.
Upon the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles in 2010 Bonaire was illegally annexed by the Dutch which resulted et al in the following:
- Opened borders for European Dutch exodus that doubled the Bonaire population in a decade, reducing the native Bonerians to less than 40%, minority on their own island. - Reversing education policies and laws, denying our children human rights to education in our own native language, Papiamento that is one of only two Caribbean native official languages that survived colonization. - Replacing, changing our demography, lifting all small-market protections to open market, open pricing, wiping out all our local businesses replacing them with Dutch Europeans and others. - Demoting and replacing all our local head of departments with Dutch immigrants taking over all local institutions and leadership positions. - Raising and imposing taxes to the level of Holland in Europe while our income is less than half of the income in Holland, Europe – land and property taxes increased by over 800%, destitute locals from their inherited lands and food resources. - Creating and maintaining social inequality, pushing over 60% of the Bonerian population under the poverty line - After the 2010 illegal annexation of Bonaire, Holland forcefully expanded their Exclusive Economic Zone with an extra 200 nautical sea miles Exclusive Economic Zone of the Southern Caribbean Sea Basin, an expansion of seven times more EEZ what they possessed before 2010 in the North Sea in Europe, in which they have absolute power by complete colonial rule from The Hague, Netherlands - The threat to the Caribbean as a peaceful region is real; recalling the 2018 and 2019 Dutch war-provocation re the Venezuela-embargo/sanctions as previous letters to CARICOM; With Bonaire 50 miles off the coast of Venezuela and possess a deep-water-harbor and the Dutch continuous efforts in expanding the international airport beyond commercial requirements to military standards and continuous efforts in buying properties around the airport - By instruction of Dutch government a group of the most decorated Dutch constitutional and legal experts researched and reported in June 2022 (see attached fact-check report), that the UN never confirmed decolonization of the Netherlands Antilles and the Dutch gave their own interpretation to article 73, a distorted process, as we never reached the UN mandated full measure of self-governance or mandated equality and freedom.
We the People of Bonaire are willing to accept the Dutch government's apology with the demand for reparations in the form the people's right to self-determination based on the following terms:
1: To re-enact our Bonaire people’s right to a just self-determination and decolonization process and trajectory by restoring our inalienable fundamental human rights by legal/political positioning, re-listing of Bonaire as United Nations Non-Self-Governing-Territory according to articles 1, 55, 73 and 103 of the Charter of the United Nations and resolutions 742, 747, 945, 1514 and 1541 that affirm the inalienable rights of the people of Bonaire to self-determination and in compliance with the Bonaire people’s international legal instruments: United Nations Charter, United Nations Decolonization Declaration, The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Covenant on All Forms of Racial Discrimination, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 2: To start an international and CARICOM/UN-guided process towards re-acquiring of the rights of the Bonaire peoples to their inherited auctioned lands. 3: Immediate stop of the current/ongoing de-population and eradication of Bonaire people’s demography and their culture, language and identity.
We are calling on CARICOM for solidarity and support for reparations for the Bonerian Peoples.
James Finies, President Nos Kier Boneiru Bek
Davika Bissessar, President Bonaire Human Rights