Dismantling of the Netherlands Antilles

In 2008 the Netherlands Antilles and the Netherlands together decided to dismantle the Netherlands Antilles. Reasons for this were among others the continuous dire economic circumstances on the islands, a very high national debt and an increase of poverty and crime. In 2005 a referendum laid the foundation for the new constitutional relations of Curacao, St. Maarten, Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. It showed that the majority of the population wanted to remain part of the Dutch Kingdom. Curaçao, St. Maarten will become new countries. Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba will become special Dutch municipalities. Thus on October 10, 2010 the Kingdom will consist of four countries: The Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten

Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba (the Caribbean Netherlands) will obtain a new status as special municipalities. With this status they belong directly together with the Netherlands. The Dutch government takes over the governmental tasks per October 10, 2010 from the government of the Netherlands Antilles. The Dutch government has adopted a first package of Caribbean Netherlands legislation among which the Law on Public Entities Caribbean Netherlands. This law officially recognizes Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba as Dutch municipalities, ‘public entities’ of the Netherlands. Other public entities are the Kingdom, municipalities, provinces and water boards.

Changes for citizens

Citizens will get many rights that Dutchmen also have. The Dutch government is starting up various programs to improve the amenities on the islands. In that respect the ‘Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland’ works together with local governments and local organizations.

Examples of new or improved amenities are:
• a healthcare insurance for all
• improved facilities in healthcare (specialized hospitals, more ambulances)
• improved amenities in education (catch- up programs to catch up with the educational back logs, extra training teachers, new teaching methods, new school buildings)
• clean potable water
• 1 new police corps, fire department with a central communications room
• better secured airports and seaports
• voting rights for the Lower House in the Netherlands