Xp Bonaire IslandLife Feature Story
Every few years, we meet up with Delno Tromp to have a “little” update about everything Bonaire. Delno is a well-known public figure with a deep-rooted love for his island and its people. Why we do like to talk to him? Because of his honesty, his understanding and his capacity to bridge cultural differences.
Delno‘s career is diverse and multifaceted. Born on Bonaire, he went to the USA and Puerto Rico to further his studies once he completed school on the island. He earned an Associate’s Degree in Science Hotel Administration, a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism, a Master’s Degree in Science and Business Administrative Studies and a PhD in Philosophy and Business Administration. Delno was Director of the slavery museum at Kura Hulanda, Curacao until June, 2022, former President and now board member of Stinapa Bonaire and travels the world as a consultant. Some of us know him as a former Deputy on Bonaire and his portfolio included economy, tourism and agriculture and most recently as Interim Director of TCB (Tourism Cooperation Bonaire).
Much has happened since our last conversation, but sitting on his porch, surrounded by beautiful plants and paintings in process, Delno seems to be the same.
Life became a bit quieter after he left TCB, but he was still busy as MBO school examiner, student mentor and creating his art in photography and paintings. Just this past June, he went to the Netherlands to open a slavery exposition.
Very quickly we ended up talking about the latest discussions in our community.
“It saddens me to see some of the new developments. It looks like Lego building blocks. I don’t understand how the permits were given to such construction projects.”
“Our roads are unbelievable and a danger. We need to repair those as fast as possible and we need public transportation. We have bus stations used by goats and donkeys for shade. As the gasoline prices go up, we need a transportation alternative that is reliable and affordable. Look at the roundabout at Kaya Amsterdam, the mistakes that were made cost us so much money.”
“The number of local businesses is declining and that honestly upsets me,” says Delno. “Local businesses need a chance to compete. We need to really look at the different sectors and see what number of businesses in the same sector are healthy and not damaging to each other.”
“The financial situation of many is worrisome. The rent, water, electricity, gasoline and food are all rising. Especially the elderly have a tough time. They have to pay for their own dental and physio and receive a pension that makes survival impossible, we have to look for extra aid.”
“The island’s population is growing, we have more than doubled in number since 2010 when Bonaire became a special municipality of the Netherlands. We need to update our regulations and grow as our population and our economy grows.”
The Department of Civil Affairs works with the same number of people, even though we have more than doubled in residencies. It takes too long to get an appointment due to the overload.”
Inspire return of young local entrepreneurs
“We need to find a way to inspire homeownership and affordable financing for our returning students. The student loan and the mortgages up to 18% on the island makes it unattractive and unaffordable for students to return to the island and become important new local entrepreneurs. “
“The real estate prices are rising and, in comparison, the average income on the island makes affordable housing impossible. We are also housing more interns and we want our local students to return and find an affordable place to live too. “
“It is time that Bonaireans speak up, but the problem is that when you speak your mind you will be punished, it’s all too political. “
“I’m not against development and growing our economy, but everything has to be in balance and in harmony. I care the most about our island, nature and our people. Local entrepreneurs need a chance in our economy. And our infrastructure has to improve in the same pace as we grow our population and economy. “
We didn’t expect this ….
“The great part of a democracy is that even when you are part of a political party you can still voice your opinion without punishment. I don’t need anything from anyone. The only things I care about are that my island benefits from the changes and that our people have a chance.
“ I think this is the time that my input could be meaningful and my angle can help to bring change. Those and many more reasons are why I will run again in the elections in March, 2023. “