Unkobon Newsletter October 2016

In this newsletter: the Union Council's autumn-meeting, slow progress in long-lease land project, the Telbo survey, the IVA-group will support Unkobon, developments concerning the Consumer Advice Centre and Unkobon's point of view on the advisory group involved in the new rental-point system.

Union Council's autumn-meeting

Twice a year the Union Council, Unkobon's Parliament, organises a public meeting that is open to all members of the Consumers Union. The autumn-meeting will be held at Jong Bonaire on November 26, 2016 from 16:00 – 17:30 hours. Topics to be discussed are among others: the strategy memorandum outlining the policy for the years 2017-2019, and the long-range estimate 2017-2019, which translates plans into numbers.

The Union Council invites Unkobon members to be present at this public meeting. An official invitation will be sent out in November.

Long lease prices

In 2014 Unkobon started a campaign to have the OLB correct the wrongful increase of ground rent. In 550 cases this was successful. But there are a lot more cases in which the increase in price has taken place on legally contestable grounds. In October 2015 Unkobon intensified its efforts. As was reported in earlier newsletters Unkobon seeks to file a joint request with the Executive Council for an independent court judgement. In the meantime, another organization on Bonaire, which is not connected to Unkobon, has made a similar request to the Executive Council. This does not mean that Unkobon has retracted from this issue. On the contrary, Unkobon hopes that finally progress is to be made in this case.

Survey Telbo internet

In November 2015 Telbo -in collaboration with Unkobon- developed a complaints procedure and in so doing embarked on a path of improvement. However, several times Unkobon was forced to report problems because Telbo was not following the agreed procedure.

In order to collect data about the quality of Telbo's service, Unkobon held a survey about Telbo's Internet and Digital TV. There was a lot of response to this survey. The information obtained will be analysed and the results will be sent to Telbo, for comment before they are published.

IVA

Members of the working group Initiation, Vision & Action (IVA) (Initiatie, Visie & Actie in Dutch) have been found willing to support Unkobon and -where necessary- to share their knowledge with the Consumers Union. IVA has been initiated by active professionals from various sectors of society. A number of IVA members are also members of Unkobon. At the moment IVA is helping with judicial issues and with setting up the Union's new website.

Consumers Advice Centre

After it had been established as an experiment in 2014, the Consumers Advice Centre will now be brought back to life. For the time being it will be a digital centre for members. An important basic principle in promoting consumer's interests is to ensure that consumers will be able to manage their own affairs. The Centre has an independent email address: loket@ consumentenbonaire.com.

It is Unkobon's ambition to professionalize the set-up of the Consumers Advice Centre as well as the quality of the information presented. At the moment the Union is trying to obtain sufficient funds to establish a physical Advice Centre, which will make it possible for all Bonaire consumers to obtain independent advice on their rights.

Proposed legislation regulating the rental-accommodation market in Caribbean Netherlands

There has been a bill put forward in the Dutch Lower House. If accepted, this Act would establish that the rental sector on the BES-islands would be regulated by rental-price legislation that is comparable to the Netherlands. Recently, Unkobon has been asked to provide input about a system of rental points that could be used to calculate the maximum rental price of a dwelling.

Unkobon will focus on fair rental prices and the interests of the lower-income groups on Bonaire.

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