Commissioner Francis acknowledges King Willem-Alexander’s apologies

Commissioner Francis acknowledges  King Willem-Alexander’s apologies

Dignitaries and attendees singing at the Emancipation Day Service in St. Eustatius on Saturday, July 1.

ST. EUSTATIUS--St. Eustatius marked Emancipation Day, Saturday, July 1, with an ecumenical service at the Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Church in Newton Pasture. During the service, which featured special renditions, hymns and performances, Government Commissioner Alida Francis acknowledged the apologies offered by King Willem-Alexander for the role the Netherlands played in slavery and the slave trade.

The service featured a live video transmission of the king’s address at a ceremony marking the 160th anniversary of the legal abolition of slavery in the Netherlands, including its former colonies in the Caribbean, at the national slavery monument in Amsterdam’s Oosterpark, in which he offered his apology for slavery (see related story).

Government Commissioner Francis acknowledged the King’s apologies. “It is time we stopped looking down on each other because of the shade of blackness. The dark-skin girl, the red-skin girl, the chocolate guy. This must stop. We are all one people. We are all Black people. To borrow from Amanda Gorman, let the world see that even as we as Statians grieved, we grew; even as we hurt, we hoped; even as we tired, we tried; and we will forever be tied together, victorious, not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.”

Francis said that now two apologies have been given by members of the Dutch government in a seven-month period. The first apologies came from Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in December 2022, and now from King Willem-Alexander on Emancipation Day 2023.


The Seventh-Day Adventist Choir performing during the Emancipation Day Service.

Deputy Government Commissioner Nicoline van der Linden-Geertsema, Island Commissioner Reuben Merkman, Island Council Member Glenville Schmidt, island secretary Malvern Dijkshoorn-Lopes and other dignitaries were present at the service.

Pastors Timothy Leito (SDA church), Melville Hazel (Bible Baptist Church), Hilary Undenhout (Big Stone Fellowship) and J. Farrell-Philp (Methodist Church) and others spoke at the special service.

Leito spoke about the different types of treatment the enslaved had to endure. During his sermon, he asked the congregation to sing “We Shall Overcome”.

The SDA church choir gave a moving performance.

The Daily Herald

Copyright © 2020 All copyrights on articles and/or content of The Caribbean Herald N.V. dba The Daily Herald are reserved.

Without permission of The Daily Herald no copyrighted content may be used by anyone.

Comodo SSL

Hosted by

© 2024 The Daily Herald. All Rights Reserved.