Carl Buncamper of the Windward Islands People’s Movement (WIPM) held his farewell speech in the last meeting of the outgoing Island Council on Tuesday, March 28. Buncamper has been a member of the Saba Island Council for 16 years.
Buncamper ran in six elections. He participated in five Island Council elections from 2007 to 2023 and in one election for the then Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles. When he first got elected in 2007, Saba was still part of the Netherlands Antilles and Saba had a seat in Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles.
Buncamper was a candidate in the March 15 Island Council elections and ran as number 6 on the WIPM slate. He received 26 votes in total, but, as he said in his farewell speech, that was mostly because he did not actively campaign and instead threw his support behind candidate number 4 on the WIPM slate, Elsa Peterson.
“It was a quiet election for me. I was not out there, I was not campaigning for me, but I was gearing up my supporters to vote for a young female voice to get in, and I am so happy that Elsa will be joining the WIPM faction. We will also have another young female, Saskia Matthew, to join the Island Council. If we look at the balance of gender and diversification in the Island Council, we are doing quite well,” said Buncamper.
Addressing the incoming Island Council members, especially the first-time elected members, Buncamper said: “It can be overwhelming at times. Just remember, we are not experts on everything, so don’t hesitate to get information, to ask for advice from others, especially from those in your community. Have a good listening ear, be cautious when you speak.”
Buncamper said that even though he would be out of the Island Council, he would remain involved in the WIPM party and in community work, working for and with NGOs to the benefit of the Saba people. “I enjoy serving the community and I continue that in my voluntary work, but also from my office where I will keep helping to build up others.”
Buncamper said it was an “honor and privilege” to have served for the past 16 years and he wished the incoming Island Council and Executive Council much success. “Work along. We have always done that on Saba. We have set good examples of working closely with each other in the interest of our people. Continue the great work that we have been doing.” He thanked his colleagues for the good working relations.
Chairman of the island Council Island Governor Jonathan Johnson thanked Buncamper for his services in the past 16 years. He referred to Buncamper as a “dedicated and committed” Island Council Member who always “extensively” read the documents and “meticulously” went through reports to prepare for meetings and ask questions. “I know you will continue to serve our island in various other ways. I wish you much success and thank you for your services,” said Johnson.
During Tuesday’s Island Council meeting, the outgoing Island Council members examined the credentials of the five incoming Island Council members who will be sworn in on Wednesday, March 29. The five elected members of the incoming Island Council are Bruce Zagers, Rolando Wilson and Eviton Heyliger, all of the WIPM, and Saskia Matthew and Hemmie van Xanten of the Party for Progress, Equality and Prosperity (PEP).
Earlier on Tuesday morning, a meeting was held of the Electoral College. Members of the previous Electoral College Bruce Zagers, Rolando Wilson, Carl Buncamper and Monique Wilson reviewed the credentials of the incoming members of the Electoral College.
The incoming Electoral College Members who will be sworn in during a second meeting of the Electoral College on Wednesday morning, March 29 are Bruce Zagers, Rolando Wilson, Eviton Heyliger, Elsa Peterson and Vito Charles.
The members of the new Electoral College, along with the members of the Electoral College of Bonaire and of St. Eustatius and the members of the Provincial States in the Netherlands will vote for the members of the First Chamber on May 30.