Court agrees with phased repatriation

Seventeen stranded residents of Bonaire who had instituted legal proceedings against the Public Entity Bonaire (OLB) do not need to be taken back to Bonaire immediately. The court determined this in its ruling on April 9. This means that the Island Governor can continue the phased repatriation.

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At the moment approximately 245 residents of Bonaire remain stranded abroad as a result of the measures that were taken due to the worldwide outbreak of coronavirus. The court is of the opinion that the OLB demonstrated sufficiently that not all residents can return to Bonaire at the same time. Due to the limited care capacity on Bonaire this is, at present, too risky. That is why the court permits the OLB to bring back returnees from April 14, 2020, in a phased manner, every time in groups of a maximum of 50 persons.

When the care capacity on the island has been expanded and experience has been gained with the first group of returnees then, according to the court, this could give cause to increase the number of returnees per occasion in order that returnees can be repatriated sooner. That is why at the end of April 2020 the court wants to be informed by the OLB about the latest medical state of affairs.

Start of repatriation

Every effort is made by the EBT and the taskforce that elaborates the road map for the repatriation, to have the repatriation of returnees take place in a safe and responsible manner after Easter. The Island Governor requests all residents of Bonaire to leave the repatriation in expert hands. The physicians and Public Health are providing for all necessary preparations for the repatriation. Supervision and enforcement fall under the authority of the security chain. Logistical experts provide for transport and accommodation. At the administrative level advice of experts is considered and included in the decision-making.

Island Governor Edison Rijna: “Again, I ask to show unity. This request applies to all residents, here and overseas. The repatriation regards fellow residents, from all layers of the population. They are entitled to return. You can be assured that every decision about this is taken in a well-considered manner and that efforts are made continuously to have the repatriation take place in a responsible manner.”