Walter Hellebrand from St. Eustatius is the sole Caribbean regional candidate in the Dutch Second Chamber elections of 22 November. The BBB party has selected him for the electoral districts of Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius. Statia-born Hellebrand is a historian and was educated on Statia, Curacao, and the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands. He is drawn number 49 on the BBB list of candidates for the Caribbean Netherlands and also in Amsterdam. BBB is list 15.

Walter Hellebrand – BBB list nr. 49

Hellebrand was Monuments Director on St. Eustatius for eleven years until the end of 2021 when he moved to the Netherlands. He combined his work on St. Eustatius with numerous other unpaid functions. During this time, one of his achievements was to play a leading role in a successful public campaign to outlaw a proposal for the local Oil Terminal to build heavy petroleum tanks in the center of the island directly near schools, homes, and the airport runway, with important heritage being destroyed in the process. Once in court, Hellebrand appealed directly to the judge and won the case against high-powered company lawyers. “On Statia, together with other concerned citizens, we managed to create a movement on the ground. We met and marched; we planned and prevailed together!¨

“BBB, the party I joined, is all about local roots and restoring the balance of power between a currently self-centered political system in The Hague and the people where the power really belongs,” says Hellebrand. “It is unthinkable that there is a part of the Kingdom without full democracy, as is the case in Statia. In fact, BBB wants to replace appointed island governors with elected ones on all three islands. Families on Statia, Saba, and Bonaire are facing difficult times. Money is disappearing through price hikes. I intend not only to voice concerns about 30,000 Dutch Caribbeans who make up these great Caribbean communities, but also act. At the heart of BBB lies the conviction that the voice of the region needs to be listened to by the central government. This includes the regions furthest away from The Hague: Bonaire, Saba, and Statia.”

The BBB party is known in English as the Farmer-Citizen Movement (BoerBurgerBeweging) and was founded by agricultural journalist Caroline van der Plas in 2019. Earlier this year, the party scored a landslide victory by winning 17 seats to form the biggest party within the Upper House (‘First Chamber’) of the Dutch Kingdom.¨The political clubs that govern and run the Dutch State have done so for too long. As a historian, I know the true meaning of the word ´communication´ is to share. It is time for a sea change at the top and fresh ideas that embrace the enthusiasm and involvement of everybody,¨ Hellebrand comments.

Walter Hellebrand is in Bonaire (5-11th), Saba (10-15th) and Statia (16-22nd), where voters can meet with him. They can also visit his facebook page: Walter Hellebrand TweedeKamer.

Walter Hellebrand

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