For those visitors on the website of BINT who cannot read Dutch, we have included this one page in English. Here we will give you a short summary of what BINT is all about. First of all we wil give you the location of the city of Oud-Beijerland in The Netherlands:
The local political party BINT was founded on December 4th, 1997, by two inhabitants who were not satisfied with the prevailing political parties in the citycouncil. Inhabitants were protesting and fighting the liberal system of drugtolerance in The Netherlands, where the citycouncil intended to allow one or more coffeeshops for softdrugs to open. They indicated, that these coffeeshops would only contribute to greater drugabuse and would make it easier for minors to get softdrugs.
The Dutch system of drugtolerance is a violation of the Opiumlaw and so still illegal, but the use and/or possession of small amounts of softdrugs is not prosecuted. This system of tolerance is frowned upon by most civilized countries in the world.
Although in The Netherlands a great number of people disagree with this system, the politicians of the greater political parties ignore the pleas for less tolerance. In Oud-Beijerland a great number of inhabitants asked in a survey to prevent the establishment of coffeeshops, but the politicians, urged by the prosecuting attorney, referred to the national system of tolerance.
As he saw that the road of protest would not bring about any changes, and with new local elections coming within six months, Geert Jeelof decided to seek support for a new local political party. Annettie van Hemert was at that time councillor for the liberal party VVD, but she was not satisfied with the democratic functioning within her party. She resigned as she considered that she could not honestly be a councillor any longer. In the same period of time some other local issues (traffic and sports) caused a lot of excitement among the people of Oud-Beijerland. Again they tried to claim their democratic rights of participation, with little succes. After they reached agreement, Annettie van Hemert and Geert Jeelof officially founded the new local political party BINT (Beijerlands Initiative) and more people acceded. A program for the coming local elections was written and a list of 16 candidates was compiled.
Amongst other things in the program the democratic participation was emphasized, coffeeshops were banned, trafficcirculation got priority above trafficstops (less sleeping policemen), the need of a sportscouncil was indicated and the construction of a municipal recreationpark near the river Spui was advised.
A short but intense campaign during two months was followed by the elections on March 4th, 1998. The results of those elections were a big surprise to everyone. BINT scored 37,2% and captured 8 of the total of 19 seats in the citycouncil. This electoral victory was the greatest of all in the whole country. The other (7) parties stuck to no more than 1 or 2 seats.
Being the greatest party by far, BINT took the initiative to form a new City Council. Negotiations were started and agreements were reached with SGP, CDA and D’66. A good policyprogram including the major BINT-programitems was put together.
The progress and the setbacks are written down (in Dutch) on the pages of this website. Summarizing one can say, that a lot of the BINT-items are actualized (citizen members of the advisory councils, recreationpark De Oude Tol is already in use, coffeeshops are closed, a new trafficplan has been drawnup, including better parking facilities, the citycenter has been upgraded, sportsclubs have moved to a new municipal sportspark, new cityquarters have been build).
Ofcourse there is always counterintention from the opposition or from people or Government Institutions (e.g. Attorney’s Office) with vested interests. On our webpages we will mention this. As those pages are mainly intended as local information on the Binternet, they are accessible to everyone with an Internetconnection.
In March 2002 BINT scored 6 seats during the new elections and once again was the largest party, despite the loss of two seats. The cooperation withe the earlier partners was continued until the end of 2004, when BINT stepped out of the alliance, because of major disagreements on economical issues.
BINT formed a new alliance with the liberals (VVD) and the socialists (PvdA). In june 2005 Geert Jeelof resigned his chairmanship and turned it over to Willem de Jonge
After you have read this, you can surf through the Dutch pages and perhaps look through te picturebook of Oud-Beijerland. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to e-mail them to us.