In 2010 Bonaire opted to enter into a direct relationship with the Netherlands. This choice has resulted in a structure within which the island of Bonaire, similar to Sint Eustatius and Saba, is classified as a Public Entity of the Netherlands. This means that, although the island is organized in a way that is similar to that of a municipality in the Netherlands, laws and regulations are different to those in the European Netherlands. In this way, the specific circumstances that the island faces can be justly incorporated into Dutch legislature. In addition, Bonaire is not governed by a province, but these governing responsibilities fall to a Kingdom Representative.  Financial supervision for Bonaire is carried out by a Financial Supervision Board located in Curacao, which approves the budget, annual accounts and amendments. This structure was established by decree under the Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Public Entities Act  and the Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Public Entities Finance Act.

Local Government

The Public Entity of Bonaire (OLB) is structured in the same way as a municipality is in the Netherlands. The highest body within the OLB is the Island Council. This council consists of nine members who are elected every four years by the population of Bonaire via direct elections. Their term coincides with the provincial elections in the Netherlands so that in this way it is possible to also vote for the Senate in the Netherlands at the same time. After negotiations, the parties assemble an Executive Council. By law it is determined that on Bonaire there may be three commissioners who have a seat on the Executive Council. A Lieutenant Governor also has a seat on the Executive Council, along with the commissioners. The Lieutenant Governor is responsible for security and public order and chairs both the Executive Council and the Island Council. Additionally, the OLB has an Island Secretary who heads the Civil Service and provides the Executive Council with advice, prepares meetings and takes the minutes. The Civil Service is divided into various directorates. There is a Spatial Planning and Development Directorate, which is important to entrepreneurs because it includes the economic department and the department that assesses business permits and building permits. There is also a Supervision and Enforcement Directorate, which is charged with enforcing various laws and regulations including the hospitality industry regulations, a Society and Care Directorate and lastly an Operations and Support Directorate.

Central Government

Various Dutch ministries have duties and powers relating to the governance of the island. Some ministries, therefore, have an extensive executive presence on the island. This is the case for the Ministry of Finance (Tax Department Caribbean Netherlands), the Ministry of Health Welfare and Sport (Health Care Insurance Office) and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (Unit-SZW Caribbean Netherlands). Other ministries have posted a liaison on Bonaire in order to be able to implement the ministry’s policies. In addition to his supervisory duties, the Kingdom Representative also is tasked with enhancing cooperation between the various independent ministries and their cooperation with the local government.

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