Newsletter March-April 2022

In this newsletter: rising rents, general conditions WEB, conversation with delegation from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, working group roads sends letter to delegate Kroon, price measure for basic necessities, members’ meeting.

Only a small part of Unkobon’s work is in the public domain. Most can be achieved behind the scenes. You can read about it in this comprehensive newsletter.

Rising rents

The prices for renting homes are skyrocketing. A brake needs to be put on this. On the website https://www.huurcommissiebonaire.com/en/ there is a handy rental price calculator to calculate the maximum rent for your home. If the outcome is less than $750 per month and you pay more rent than the outcome of the calculation, the Rental Committee can reduce the rent.

As of April 1, 2021, the new rent protection law for Bonaire is in effect. After a delay at the Ministry of Home Affairs, Bonaire’s Rental Committee started in December 2021. Speaking with the Rental Committee, Unkobon heard that the commission is now approached 10-20 times a day by phone, whatsapp or email with questions. These are citizens who come with problems with the landlord but also with the tenant. The secretary of the Rental Committee often tries to mediate before the issue becomes a case between parties. Sometimes parties don’t even want mediation, but rather for the Rental Committee to hold a hearing and make a decision. As of December 23, there has been an average of 5 hearings per month.

Draft new general terms and conditions of WEB
WEB’s general conditions are particularly unfavorable to consumers. Since 2016 Unkobon has been fighting to change these terms and conditions. For the desired fundamental change, much patience and persistence were needed. But now there is a draft in which WEB has incorporated almost all Unkobon’s wishes. In May there will be a joint consultation in which the ACM, the Dutch Consumer & Market Authority, will also give its input. Unkobon expects that the final version will not be long in coming.

Conversation with officials of Economic Affairs
The Dutch government says it wants to make the regulations on our islands equivalent to those in Europe.

On April 4, Unkobon had a fruitful conversation with two people from the Ministry of Economic Affairs. They promised to take the initiative in setting up a project office to solve important bottlenecks in the mail delivery. We also talked about aligning consumer protection in Bonaire with that in the European Netherlands. We discussed, among other things, number retention when changing telecom providers, the limited validity of pre-paid telephone cards, the mandatory participation of the telecom and energy sector in the Dispute Committee and the lack of an accessible legal desk. The lack of subsidy schemes for the purchase of solar panels and electric cars, which are available to consumers in the Netherlands, was also a topic of discussion.

Working group on roads
Spurred on by Unkobon publicity, work on the roads in Bonaire got underway in the second half of 2021. But we still have way to go. If the works continue at this pace, Unkobon foresees that it will take decades before the current paved roads are renovated. It will be at the expense of traffic safety for a long time to come.

For this reason, Unkobon’s roads working group wrote a letter to deputy Kroon asking for the cooperation with Unkobon to be resumed quickly. Unkobon wants to talk not only about a clear planning, but also about the future-proofing of our road network.

Price Measure
Prices in supermarkets are skyrocketing. A year ago, Unkobon began a consultation with OLB to arrive at a price measure for a basket of basic necessities. Official mills grind slowly, but now there is a methodology and a plan of action to set maximum prices for the basic basket that are feasible for supermarkets.

To prevent, as in 2014, some basic products from no longer being available on Bonaire, it was decided to work on support. An exploratory meeting with some supermarkets had a positive outcome. Discussions with the other supermarkets will be held shortly.

It is all taking far too long for our liking. But in this process too Unkobon needs patience and perseverance.

Spring meeting Union Council
Will you also come to Unkobon’s membership meeting? Put the date in your agenda: June 1, 2022 and the time: gathering from 18:45, meeting from 19:00 at Hofi Kultural on the Kaya Skandelchi in Antriol.