Confronting Caribbean Challenges: Hybrid Identities and Governance in Small-scale Island Jurisdictions

How did political reforms and intensive migrations affect historically grounded identities and political practices on the Dutch Caribbean islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, and Saba? This project seeks to answer this question by integrating multiple disciplines to analyze governance and identity in small-scale polities, with a particular focus on non-sovereignty, migration, and (sustainable) development.

After the dismantlement of the Netherlands Antilles, the six islands remain locked in the postcolonial imbroglio resulting from their rejection of full sovereignty. Against the advantages inherent in the asymmetrical link to the metropolis, there are constraints to the insular populations’ autonomy and identities. The constitutional reforms may have deepened the ambivalence of Antillean citizens and politicians towards the Netherlands, while high levels of immigration raise other questions about insular belonging. The ‘Confronting Caribbean Challengesproject will analyze the intersection of (recent) political reforms, often intensive migrations, and current practices of governance on four of these islands.

The focus is on the least-studied islands of the former Netherlands Antilles, but the approach is comparative. This project utilizes a three-tiered multi-disciplinary framework linking the past (historical development of hybrid identities), the present (governance, migration and citizenship issues), and the future (sustainable tourism capitalizing on natural and historical heritage). The three sub-projects will combine an historical perspective, contemporary empirical data and fresh insights into the literature on governance and identity in small-scale polities, emphasizing the variables of non-sovereignty and high-intensity migration. The project will feed into ongoing debates about governance, insular identities, and local agency.

Photo: A glimpse through the portal of Confronting Caribbean Challenges: past, present and future (Lower Town, St. Eustatius)

Our project team:

Gert Oostindie (project director)
Jessica Vance Roitman (researcher)
Wouter Veenendaal (researcher)
Malcom Ferdinand (researcher)
Stacey Mac Donald (researcher)
Sanne Rotmeijer (researcher)

For questions or information please contact Sanne Rotmeijer: ln.vl1511210531tik@r1511210531ejiem1511210531tor1511210531

Confronting Caribbean Challenges project in the media:

14 September 2017 | Volkskrant (Sanne Rotmeijer): ‘Gelijkwaardig Koninkrijk moet het doel zijn van wederopbouw Sint Maarten’

2 September 2017 | VPRO-gids #35 (Gert Oostindie): ‘Een oorlog die we niet hadden moeten voeren’

21 August 2017 | NOS Radio 1 (Gert Oostindie): ‘Dit is de Dag’ over beeld Pieter Stuyvesant

17 August 2017 | Nederlands Dagblad (Gert Oostindie): ‘Kolonialisme ís onderdeel van ons verleden’

3 August 2017 | Antilliaanse Dagblad (Gert Oostindie): ‘Doe er iets goeds mee’

24 July 2017 | NRC Handelsblad (Gert Oostindie): ‘NRC checkt: “De helft van alle Surinamers woont in Nederland”

29 June 2017 | Debate: ‘Voorbij de Nederlandse Antillen’ (Beyond the Netherlands Antilles)

2 June 2017 | AD 2 juni 2017 Antilliaans Dagblad: ‘Relatie Koninkrijk status quo’

27 April 2017 | NOS Nieuwsuur (Gert Oostindie): ‘Verkiezingen Curacao’

20 April 2016 | Radiostatia PJB-50 92.3 FM (Stacey Mac Donald): Radio interview during the Shedding Light a Government Information Service Program on St. Eustatius

25 July 2015 | The Bonaire Reporter (Stacey Mac Donald): ‘Protecting the nature and cultural heritage on Bonaire (p. 15)’

8 April 2015 | Antilliaans Dagblad: ‘Onderzoek van KITLV naar eilanden’

3 April 2015 | NTR Caribisch Netwerk: ‘Groot onderzoek naar Caribische Rijksdelen

2 April 2015 | Dichtbij Nederland: ‘Interview with KITLV researchers about project on the Caribbean

24 March 2015 | Antilliaans Dagblad (Wouter Veenendaal): ‘Groeiende onvrede met nieuwe status

23 October 2014 | NPO Radio 1 Vandaag (Gert Oostindie): ‘Curacao wil van Nederlandse invloed af’

20 October 2014 | Antilliaans Dagblad (Gert Oostindie): ‘Toezicht Nederland sterker’ + ‘Politieke Legitimiteit

October 2014 | Idee (Gert Oostindie): ‘Decentralisatie overzee

23 September 2014 | Antilliaans Dagblad (Wouter Veenendaal): ‘Het democratisch tekort in ons Koninkrijk, een oplosbaar probleem‘ (pp 8)

Het eindrapport van het CCC-opinieonderzoek is gereed, en vanaf nu via onderstaande link in te zien. Vanwege copyright is het bij gebruik van de cijfers van belang de volgende verwijzing naar het eindrapport toe te voegen:

“Veenendaal, W. (2016). Eindrapport CCC-Opinieonderzoek. Leiden: KITLV.”
Eindrapport CCC-Opinieonderzoek

Weerstand tegen Nederlands en buitenlanders op de eilanden:
Weerstand tegen Nederlanders en buitenlanders op de eilanden

Political Status Preferences on Aruba and Curaçao:
Aruba – Curaçao Status

First Results of our Opinion Survey on Bonaire, Saba, and St. Eustatius!
Presentation CCC-Survey BES

First Results of Our Opinion Survey on Bonaire: see Bonaire Status!
Also published on NTR Caribisch Netwerk.

Between 14 September and 31 October 2015, the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) carried out a large opinion survey on all six Dutch Caribbean islands. This was an independent, academic survey, sponsored financially by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). Dr. Wouter Veenendaal is the leading researcher of this academic project.

On each island a number of addresses were selected by means of a randomly drawn sample, and between 14 September and 31 October 2015, each of these addresses was visited by a local interviewer. The residents of these addresses were interviewed by means of a paper questionnaire, which addressed the following topics: 1) the relationship between the islands and Holland, 2) local politics on the island, and 3) media consumption. Interviews were conducted in Dutch, English, Papiamentu or Spanish.

The most important reason for this research, is the fact that only very few academic and comparative opinion surveys have been carried out on the islands: the most recent comprehensive opinion survey was conducted in 1998. Because five years have now passed since the momentous constitutional reforms of 2010, it is extremely important to know the opinions of the populations of the islands about the Kingdom and about the changed relationship with the other islands and Holland. In addition, it will be interesting to draw comparisons between the different islands, and to see if any differences can be observed between the islands that in 2010 have become autonomous countries, and those that became public bodies of Holland instead.

Related researchers
Methodological Advisory Council
Related publications

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