From left: Jan Meijer, Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij, Deputy Government Commissioner Alida Francis and Mia van Deelen with copies of Teresa Leslie’s book “Eight Years on Statia”.
ST. EUSTATIUS--Jan Meijer and Mia van Deelen presented St. Eustatius Government Commissioners Marnix van Rij and Alida Francis with Teresa Leslie’s book Eight Years on Statia on Wednesday, February 3.
Eight Years on Statia is a new book that explores the continuing colonial relationship between St. Eustatius and the Netherlands. Through a video link, Leslie was able to provide the commissioners with the background and motivation for her writing.
Government Commissioner Van Rij congratulated Leslie. “Having written a book myself, I know how challenging and creative that can be. Eight Years on Statia will promote a dialogue on the subject of racism,” he said.
Leslie is an African American anthropologist with family roots on the island and her book reports frankly on her personal experience and fieldwork in Statia.
She reviews the role of race in the development of the island and its people. Her premise is an island which continues to be colonial and this colonialism continues to be structured through racism and white supremacy.
“On Sint Eustatius, as opposed to celebrating blackness or Caribbean-ness, among islanders there seems to be more of an identification with Dutch-ness and/or European-ness,” she writes.
Deputy Government Commissioner Francis also expressed her gratitude to the author. “We are living in a time zone in which your book is very timely for a dialogue,” Francis told Leslie. “We look forward to finding ways to understand each other, not only on Statia, but in general.”
A full review will be published in Friday’s WEEKender supplement.