CLEAN UP THE SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET: Revoke the old unused permits.

The Executive Council (BC) is working on preparations for a comprehensive review of the Bonaire Spatial Development Plan (revision ROB).

The BC intends to include in the revision of the ROB rules:

– leading to the construction of high-quality hotels, resorts and other high-quality recreational accommodation facilities and

– leading to a balanced composition of housing construction and use of housing for all target group.

Protection of nature is not mentioned at all; “nature” the most important source of income for Bonaire.


In anticipation of this revision, the BC took a Preparatory Decree for accommodation recreation and housing construction (VB) (P&A2021005980) on 2 December 2021 to be able to put developments, that do not fit in the ROB revision, ‘on hold’. An almost unreadable piece that again contains enough possibilities to apply arbitrariness.

According to the BC, this VB is to achieve an overall increase in the quality of the recreational facilities and a balanced composition of housing.

The VB only applies to new permit applications. But what will happen to the ‘skeletons in the closet’, issued, unused permits, which thwart the BC’s purpose described above?

The law provides for the possibility for the BC to respond to this, namely by withdrawing the building permit (Article 2.12 sub b. BES Housing, Spatial Planning and Environmental Management Act): if construction work has not started within one year after the permit’s issuance, the permit may be revoked. A crystal-clear article without ifs and buts!

A good reason to revoke unused permits and to clean the closet. It also could be an action that shows BC really cares about nature and not “just issues texts for folders”.


This month, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced that for the first time, more than 40,000 plants and animals are threatened with extinction, including 1,000 species of dragonflies and damselflies. The destruction of the wetlands is the main cause of the decline of these species. The IUCN reiterates the need to protect the wetlands and the diversity they harbor as they increasingly give way to urbanization and agriculture.

An example in this context. Would a building permit (issued in 2018, unused for more than a year) for the construction of a house on a plot largely located in the RAMSAR area still be issued today? No!

The next twenty or thirty years are crucial, as far as biodiversity is concerned only ten years are left… How to act, maybe we are too late, maybe it will fail but at least we must have made the effort. Withdraw those unused ‘speculative’ permits! Don’t let it be just vague words. Remove the skeletons now!