One SXM members and leading activists at the Government Administration Building, when the group had presented the One SXM “Petition Against Accepting Dutch ‘Apology’ for ‘Slavery Past’ without reparations” to Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs in December 2022 (CLF file photo).
PHILIPSBURG--The One SXM Association is calling on King Willem-Alexander to issue “a sincere apology” for the Dutch Kingdom’s involvement in slavery, the transatlantic slave trade and for continuing colonialism.
The Association made the call in an open letter to the King. Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs had said in response to a question during Wednesday’s live Council of Ministers press briefing that the King will not be asked to make any further apologies for slavery past (see related story).
“As a first step in repairing the relationship between the Kingdom of the Netherlands as the coloniser and St. [Maarten – Ed.] people as the colonised, we demand that you issue a sincere apology for the Dutch Kingdom’s involvement in slavery, the transatlantic slave trade and continuing colonialism. This month of Black History celebrations and your presence on our island present the opportune time to do this,” One SXM Association stated in its open letter.
The Association said its members feel duty-bound to address the King respectfully, on the matter of his pending visit to the country. “We write you as St. [Maarteners], as Caribbean people, who do not see themselves as subjects of any other humans. We note with deep regret that from your position of power and privilege, you have chosen to parade these islands during the month of Black History celebrations, showing off the people to your daughter and heiress to your throne and patronising their culture. More dehumanising is the expectation that our people should bow to you and your family, as a way to give legitimacy to an anachronistic and fading political system,” read the open letter.
“As the head of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, you hide behind political unaccountability, refusing to apologise for your family’s involvement in slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. Furthermore, the kingdom you head has refused at every opportunity to denounce racism and xenophobia at several United Nations fora.”
The letter continued: “The people of St. [Maarten] did not choose to be a part of the kingdom, and we do not embrace you as the king of our people. We expect that you can relate to this position since your country fought an 80-year war to gain its independence from Spain as your people refused to be subjugated by the Spanish. We believe that the only way for St. [Maarten] to become a true ‘equal partner’ with your kingdom is for our island to become an independent, sovereign state. We reiterate that we are not subjects of any monarch, and we definitely do not want our children to bow before anyone’s children,” read the letter.