Scientific research focuses on kingdom relations

POSTED: 08/12/15 4:26 PM

Confronting Caribbean Challenges kicks off in September

St. Maarten – Between September 14 and October 31 the Royal Institute for Language, Country and Ethnology (KITLV) will execute a large scientific research project on all six islands of the former Netherlands Antilles. The project is called Confronting Caribbean Challenges.

Local interviewers will go door to door during this period with a questionnaire. The interviews are anonymous and can be held in four different languages – English, Dutch, Papiamento or Spanish. They will take around twenty minutes to complete.

The institute will publish the results of the study later this year, lead researcher Wouter Veenendaal said.

Veenendaal’s research focuses on the impact of the new municipal status of the smallest islands (Saba, Statia and Bonaire) on the opinion and v=behavior of local citizens, civil servants and politicians. The project also draws comparisons with the larger islands (Curacao, Aruba and St. Maarten) and other non-sovereign island jurisdictions in the Caribbean and elsewhere.

The researcher declined to provide a copy of the questionnaire to this newspaper. “It is not the intention that people get to know the questions beforehand,” he explained yesterday.

Veenendaal did however provide a global overview of the questionnaire’s content. There are four main themes: the relationship between the island and the Netherlands, the relationship with the other islands in the kingdom, local politics, and media use. A fifth component of the survey consists of personal questions – most likely about age, country of origin and so on.

The lead researcher obtained his PhD at the Institute of Political Science of Leiden University in 2013, on the basis of a dissertation in which he examined the influence of a small population size on political and democratic development. His Ph.D. dissertation won the 2014 annual thesis prize of the Dutch Political Science Association (Annual prize Political Science).

While doing research for his Ph.D., Veenendaal conducted fieldwork in four microstates around the world: San Marino (Europe), St. Kitts and Nevis (Caribbean), Seychelles (Africa), and Palau (Pacific).In January 2014 he conducted fieldwork in the Principality of Liechtenstein as a visiting researcher at the Liechtenstein Institute.

His research and publications have focused on politics and democracy in small (island) states, and he has published on political representation, political competition, foreign policy, and institutional legitimacy in small jurisdictions. His research has been sponsored through grants of the Netherlands Institute of Government (NIG) and the Leiden University Fund (LUF). Veenendaal’s articles have been published in high-ranking international refereed journals such as Comparative Politics, Democratization, Foreign Policy Analysis, the Journal of Democracy, and Party Politics.

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