Opinion: Heaven

POSTED: 10/7/11 2:23 PM

It must be heaven to live on Bonaire. The local hotel association, Bonhata, has sounded the alarm over the alarming crime situation: in the past six weeks four cars were stolen, and in a time span of five weeks, one hotel became the target of no less than four burglaries.
Amigoe’s correspondent in Bonaire reports that “next to burglary, thefts of rental cars, vandalism and joyriding, people also have become victims of armed robberies.”
No doubt about it, crime is on the rise in Bonaire, but we get the feeling that concerns about armed robberies are the least of the island’s worries. The correspondent reports it almost as an afterthought.
We figure that Justice Minister Roland Duncan would readily give his left arm for problems like this.
It’s not that we underestimate the seriousness of burglaries. Victims get sleepless nights over it, they feel that their privacy has been invaded and they feel less safe in their own home.
But being a victim of a burglary is a far cry from being the victim of, say, murder, or armed robbery. These events are exponentially more traumatic for victims, and they also gobble up time and resources at the police force.
But everything is relative, and this also goes for the way communities experience crime. Just read Bonhata’s reaction: “The problem concerns us all, from the local population and visitors to the fragile tourist industry that is the backbone of the economy. These actions cannot and will not be tolerated. It is not only our safety that is at stake, it is also one of the most important characteristics of Bonaire, in addition, our reputation as a safe vacation destination. These gruesome acts destroy years of hard work and progress in the tourist industry, they cause irreparable damage to the island of Bonaire and they will ultimately endanger the population’s livelihood.”
Are these the kind of problems St. Maarten experienced like, forty years ago? If only we could turn back the hands of time.

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