Gumbs receives report from Slavery Quartermasters | SOUALIGA NEWSDAY

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - Minister Plenipotentiary Patrice Gumbs received a copy of “The Plan”, comprising two reports; the first a collection of the stories shared by the thousands of persons interviewed following the Dutch Government’s apology for Slavery, entitled “About us and with us” and the second “Tell the whole story”, outlining the plans for the proposed slavery museum in Amsterdam.

The Plan is the result of the work of the three quartermasters appointed to lead the Dutch Government’s initiatives in the wake of the apology in 2022. 

In the margins of the recently concluded 4th Conference of the Dutch Caribbean Heritage Platform, two of the three quartermasters John Leerdam and Peggy Brandon met with Gumbs to update him on their work.

Gumbs commended the two for the work and underscored the need for continued dialogue between the Netherlands and Sint Maarten to come to mutually acceptable expectations on initiatives related to the apology.

Gumbs stressed that open discussion on this topic is necessary. “While some may have had discussions as part of oral family history, only recently are we bringing the conversation out of the dark and onto the national level."

The only way to reach these mutually acceptable expectations is to unpack the long-term impact, via dialogue, to create a government-wide list of areas to address. Moreover, it is important to put this list against the National Development Vision, in consultation with Sint Maarten’s Advisory Committee on Slavery, to ensure alignment and a comprehensive approach to our discussions, locally and with the Dutch Government in the coming months. 

In his discussions with the Quartermasters, Gumbs drew the link between the long-term impact of slavery and colonization on current Kingdom relations. “While I don’t believe in making this a blame game, one must acknowledge the legacy of colonization and then work towards moving on; first individually, secondly as a country, and finally together as a Kingdom.

In his first statement following swearing in on May 3rd, Gumbs said that while the past 14 years have at times been challenging, the lessons learned offer perspective for increased growth, cooperation, and collaboration on the basis of mutual respect, accountability, and shared interests. 

“As Minister Plenipotentiary, I am looking forward to spearheading these discussions in The Hague".