Substantial expansion of Island councils in Caribbean Netherlands

The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations does not oppose the expansion of the Island Councils of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. Civil servants are working on an amendment to the woIBES law that will make it possible to significantly increase the number of council seats as of the 2027 elections.

The current law stipulates that the Island Council of Bonaire has 9 members and that of St. Eustatius and Saba 5. This is considerably less than municipalities in the European Netherlands with a similar population. The municipal law also stipulates that the number of council seats grows (or decreases) with the number of inhabitants.

Based on the Dutch system, Bonaire with more than 22,000 inhabitants is entitled to 19 island council members, Statia to 11 and Saba to 9. According to sources in The Hague, the ministry does not want to introduce the expansion in one go, but only gradually from 2027.

It is unknown which other parts of the woIBES act will also be amended to bring the rules for local government in the Caribbean Netherlands more in line with those of municipalities in the European Netherlands.

Dossier Koninkrijksrelaties

Saba's Youth Council left for a working visit to The Netherlands
Roald Lapperre Director-General of Kingdom Relations at BZK

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