Newsletter December 2020

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In this newsletter: autumn meeting of the Union Council, geographical discrimination by Dutch banks, radio program price comparator.

Autumn meeting of the Union Council
Twice a year, the Union Council organizes a meeting to which all members are welcome. The autumn meeting was on 2 November. At this meeting, we discussed the areas in which Unkobon has been active in 2020. Subjects such as: road maintenance (see the OLB file on the Unkobon website in dutch), petrol prices (as of 1 April 2020 reduced by 15 cents and per 1 July by another 10 cents per litre), the unfriendly customer conditions of WEB (to be adjusted in 2021), mail delivery (the Ministry of Economic Affairs is actively working on it), the health label on food products (nutri-score), the restart of the price comparator in October 2020 and last but not least, the introduction of an easily accessible dispute settlement system at companies so that consumers can more easily obtain their rights.

As in every autumn meeting, the strategic choices for the next 3 years were made in consultation with members. It was another lively meeting in which the members present took an active part. Afterwards there was another snack and a drink for those present.

Geographical discrimination by Dutch banks
Earlier this year, thanks to Unkobon, the foreign surcharge was withdrawn that ING bank wanted to apply to residents of the Dutch Caribbean who have a current account there. But the banks stubbornly keep on discriminating.

Until now, holding a checking account with a Dutch bank was only possible for businesses and individuals who already had an account in the European Netherlands before moving to Bonaire. As of 1 January 2021 there will be new regulations allowing Dutch banks to offer their services to all residents of the Dutch Caribbean municipalities. However, the banks do not wish to carry out this social task in the Dutch Caribbean as well. State-owned bank ABN Amro even threatens to close or terminate the existing accounts of companies and individuals on the BES islands. Only political pressure can prevent this. That is why Unkobon took the initiative and, together with business associations and the Chamber of Commerce, sent urgent appeal to the Dutch parliament.

Price comparison on the radio
As of December Unkobon will provide a monthly short programme about the price comparator that will be broadcasted on BonFM, Live99 and Voz di Boneiru. You can listen to the programme here (Papiamentu).

Best wishes
The Unkobon management wishes the members a healthy, happy and prosperous 2021.