Governance of Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba

Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba are each governed by an island authority and by Dutch central government.

The islands are public bodies of the Netherlands, similar to municipalities. Unlike municipalities in the Netherlands, however, the Caribbean islands are not part of a Dutch province.

Each island has an executive council that is responsible for that island’s day-to-day governance. The executive council implements the decisions of the island council. The executive council also takes decisions of its own, such as issuing building permits or signing agreements with contractors. The executive council is supported in these tasks by a team of civil servants. The island secretary is the head of this civil service organisation.

The executive council governs the island, and is subject to scrutiny by the island council. The civil servants are responsible for carrying out the work of government and implementing the decisions that are made. The island council is the representative assembly of the people.

For more information about the governance of the islands, please visit the websites of Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba:

  • Executive council of Bonaire
  • Authorities of St Eustatius
  • Authorities of Saba

The National Office for the Caribbean Netherlands performs tasks at national level on the 3 islands.

Government Commissioner on St Eustatius

On 7 February 2018 the island authorities of St Eustatius were replaced by a Government Commissioner. This occurred because the island council, the executive council and the Governor were not performing their tasks effectively. The Government Commissioner will govern the island until the administration of St Eustatius is put back in order. At that point, a new island council will be elected.

The Government Commissioner speaks regularly with the public and the business community on St Eustatius.  He has established an advisory council drawn from civil society, which can advise him on a range of topics. He also has regular drop-in sessions for members of the public who wish to consult with him.

Kingdom Representative

The Kingdom Representative for the public bodies Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba serves as the link between Dutch central government in The Hague and the 3 public bodies in the Caribbean Netherlands.

The office of the Kingdom Representative is located on Bonaire. The Kingdom Representative is the ‘eyes and ears’ of the various government ministers in the Netherlands, and keeps the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations informed about the situation on the islands.