Princess Beatrix to visit Bonaire
Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands is to visit the island of Bonaire from 28 November to 1 December 2018, at the invitation of the STINAPA Bonaire National Parks Foundation. This nongovernmental organisation is responsible for the management of Bonaire’s national parks. STINAPA is a member of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA), of which Princess Beatrix is patron.
Wednesday 28 November
Princess Beatrix will be welcomed at the airport by Jan Helmond, acting Kingdom Representative for Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba, and Edison Rijna, the Island Governor of Bonaire.
Thursday 29 November
In the morning, Princess Beatrix will visit STINAPA’s head office, where she will hear about nature conservation and management at the Bonaire National Marine Park and the Washington Slagbaai National Park.
Afterwards, in her capacity as patron of the Dutch National Committee for UNICEF Princess Beatrix will visit the Kolegio Strea Briante school, whose film production won the first-ever Caribbean edition of the UNICEF Child Rights Film Festival earlier this year. The festival’s aim is to make children in the Caribbean Netherlands aware of their rights in active and creative ways. Princess Beatrix and pupils from the school will watch the film together and then engage in an informal discussion.
In the afternoon, Princess Beatrix will attend the ‘Economy and nature in balance’ symposium organised by the DCNA regional parks alliance. The symposium will address the competing interests of nature management and conservation and the development of tourism. The event will feature various speakers, and a panel discussion. The first day of the visit will conclude with a reception at the Island Governor’s official residence.
Friday 30 November
In the morning Princess Beatrix will visit the Washington Slagbaai National Park, which was established in 1969 as the first nature reserve of the then Netherlands Antilles. Covering an area of 5,643 hectares, the park provides a safe living environment for Bonaire’s protected indigenous species, including parrots, flamingos, parakeets and iguanas. In addition, the beaches are an important breeding ground for the four species of sea turtle that are native to the Caribbean. After a welcome reception and a tour of the visitors’ centre, Princess Beatrix will be shown round the park in an off-road vehicle. Afterwards, she will meet rangers, researchers and staff of the Washington Slagbaai National Park. In the afternoon Princess Beatrix will visit Hòfi Kultural, a cultural venture for local residents, which receives support from the Orange Fund. Here, residents can meet and get to know each other better while creating artwork together. The Princess will meet organisers and residents and will unveil a woodcarving.
Saturday 1 December
The visit to STINAPA will conclude with a debate by its Junior Rangers. For some 10 years, STINAPA has been running weekly courses for young people about the islands’ distinctive flora and fauna, and the importance of nature management and conservation. In essence, the Junior Rangers are Bonaire’s nature ambassadors. An annual debate is part of their training programme. This year, the theme is ‘Will sustainable development hinder or benefit Bonaire’s economy?’. The Princess will attend the debate and the closing speech. Afterwards she will meet the Junior Rangers, their supervisors and volunteers involved in the youth programme.
DCNA is a regional alliance between six nature park organisations on the Dutch Caribbean islands. Its mission is to support and improve nature protection and conservation there. Besides promoting local flora and fauna, DCNA also focuses on the sustainable management of nature reserves, poverty reduction and economic growth, while boosting awareness and knowledge of the value of nature. Ultimately, the aim is to protect the abundance of marine and terrestrial life on the island, and to conserve it for future generations.