No Parliament deadline for islands’ goat control

A mo­tion to set a deadline of five to ten years for cull­ing roaming wild goats in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba failed to muster sufficient support in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament during the voting on Thursday.

During a plenary meet­ing on December 8, Members of Parliament (MPs) Tjeerd de Groot of the Democratic Party D66, also on behalf of Laura Bromet of the green left party Groen­Links, submitted a mo­tion in which the Dutch government was request­ed to have the issue of roaming goats and other livestock in St. Eusta­tius and Saba resolved in 2025 and in Bonaire, five years after that, in 2030.

De Groot and Bromet argued in their motion that tens of thousands of animals roamed on the three islands, which ate all vegetation and pre­vented tree and shrub seedlings and new grass from growing.

The motion stated that while progress was be­ing made in St. Eustatius and Saba, where the local government approved a goat control programme, currently in the early stage of execution, things were barely moving in Bonaire. All three is­lands have national parks where the vegetation is threatened and the soil eroding.

The motion asked the Dutch government to have “all roaming wild grazing animals and inva­sive species which threat­en flora and fauna under control” in St. Eustatius and Saba in 2025 and in Bonaire in 2030.

Minister of Agriculture, Nature Management and Food Quality LNV Car­ola Schouten called it a “sympathetic proposal,” but advised against the motion, because she said she could not promise to make this happen in the motion’s suggested time-frame.

“I really can’t make that true. We are working on it, together with the public entities to reduce the goat issue. I will dis­cuss the content of the motion with the islands, but it is really too com­plicated to tie a year to it,” said Schouten, whose LNV Ministry is fund­ing the goat control pro­grammes.

There was not enough support in the Second Chamber for the roam­ing goats and other live­stock motion. There was sufficient support for two other motions of De Groot and Bromet that dealt with the Caribbean Netherlands nature.

One motion asked the Dutch government to set the objectives by mid-2021 for the achieving of a certain degree of coral coverage of the reefs in the seas surrounding the Caribbean Netherlands.

The motion stated that if no actions were taken, the coral reefs could be gone in five to 10 years. In that regard, MPs de Groot and Bromet con­sidered the date to set the goals for coral cover­age in 2024 too late. “By 2030 the coral will be gone. Priority needs to be given to this,” said De Groot.

Minister Schouten had advised against this mo­tion, stating that she was looking at ways to accelerate, but doubted whether it would be pos­sible to determine the coral coverage in 2021. “I am giving this prior­ity. But I do not know if it will be technically pos­sible to have this done before 2024,” she said.

The minister was more positive about the mo­tion presented by Brom­et, with the support of De Groot, asking the Dutch government to keep the Second Cham­ber informed about the execution agendas of the individual islands with regard to the Caribbean Netherlands Nature and Environment Policy Plan.

According to Bromet, the plan contained “am­bitious goals” for 2030, but provided few details about the manner in which the set objectives will be achieved. In the motion, concern was ex­pressed that nature in the Caribbean Netherlands had been in bad shape for many years.

The Daily Herald.

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One comment

  1. Am I confused or isn’t this the domain of the islands themselves?
    December is always a kind of small month, as parliament is on holiday from December, 18 till January, 11. Therefore many members are seeking subjects for easily scoring some publicity. This is their personal marketing.
    I would think that there are far more important problems to discuss and tackle at this moment. Corona is just one of them, or the bad performance of several Dutch ministries.

    The islanders themselves have brought forward the idea of containment of roaming wild goats, but the conditions and facilities to move forward have to be agreed on and implemented first.

    And from Februar, 12th till March, 22nd again there is a holiday in parliament because of the elections on March, 17th. So within parliament sessions there is only one month to make publicity. You can almost predict that some members of parliament will seek publicity in other easy items. “Of course” they don’t like to pick extreme controversial or hazardous subjects.

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