A significant number of people living on Bonaire have a limited income; many do not have (ready) access to the internet and some do not (yet) have a bank account. The BCN’s decision to discontinue the acceptance of cash payments is likely to cause significant inconvenience to these citizens.
The BCN’s preference for online payments is understandable. It is perfectly entitled to encourage and facilitate the adoption of such a system. If, however, there is a substantial group of people who are unable use online banking, an acceptable alternative must be put in place. Bonaire has a significant number of people for whom online banking is not an appropriate solution. The National Ombudsman finds it noteworthy that the BCN failed to conduct any form of research in this regard.
The National Ombudsman therefore finds that the BCN did not take the interests of the public adequately into account when deciding to withdraw cash payment options. No reasonable alternative has been implemented. Accordingly, the Ombudsman concludes that the BCN has failed to meet the required standards of fairness and proportionality.