United States Consul General David McCawley presents a copy of the book “The Caribbean” by Jacob Gelt Dekker, to Director of the Cabinet of the Curaçao Minister Plenipotentiary Ann Groot-Phillips at the American Book Centre in Amsterdam on Thursday. (Suzanne Koelega photo)
AMSTERDAM–The new book of well-known Dutch entrepreneur, philanthropist and writer Jacob Gelt Dekker, who has been residing in Curaçao for many years, titled “The Caribbean” was officially launched in Amsterdam on Thursday.
The author himself was missing at the presentation at the American Book Centre in Amsterdam because he is unfit to travel due to his critical illness, but he was well represented by his publisher Liesbeth Heenk of Amsterdam Publishers.
Heenk said the 300-page book in English, which Gelt Dekker started working on in July 2017, was hard to classify under one genre because it contained different elements of history, travel, fiction and fantasy.
The main character in the book embarks on a fictitious sea voyage around the Caribbean, stopping at many of the islands where he gets involved in all sorts of adventures. He is not alone on his boat. Accompanying him are Anansi the Spider, the trickster from the famous Caribbean tales, and The Flying Dutchman, doomed to sail the oceans forever and harbouring a terrible secret.
Together, they seek to establish the truth about the history of the Caribbean. Along the way, they encounter famous pirates and unpick tales of untold riches, but also retrace the steps of the region’s slaves, and how events in Europe, the American colonies and Africa sealed their fates.
St. Maartener Maria van der Sluijs-Plantz, who has been nominated for the prestigious position as a Member of the Council of State of the Kingdom for St. Maarten, read from a chapter of the book in which the main character anchors at a desolate island only inhabited by a king who was too greedy to share the many mangoes from his royal gardens.
American Book Centre co-owner Lynn Kaplanian Buller recounted how Gelt Dekker showed up at the book store many years ago and that she immediately hired the eccentric looking man. “He gave clients an honest opinion about books. One day he quit and he said that he was going to sail the Caribbean.”
“[This is – Ed.] a unique book, written by a remarkable human being about a region that is so dear to me,” said Director of the Cabinet of the Curaçao Minister Plenipotentiary Ann Groot-Phillips in her address. Gelt Dekker is an ‘institution’ in Curaçao with influence on the economic and cultural levels,” she said.
According to Groot-Phillips, who has St. Maarten roots, Gelt Dekker has a sincere interest in Curaçao and its people. “He is sincere in expressing his feelings and will do so whether people like it or not. His book is a loving tribute to the Caribbean region.”
Befitting a philanthropist, the author decided that all proceeds of the book sale will go to the internship programme of the Fulbright Centre in Amsterdam which assists students to fund their studies in the United States (US).
Fabienne van der Bor of the Fulbright Centre spoke of Gelt Dekker as an extraordinary man with an extraordinary life, a generous spirit and a deep compassion for others. US Consul General in Amsterdam David McCawley also referred to Gelt Dekker’s generosity and his free spirit.
During the event three exclusive colour copies of the book were printed on the press of the American Book Centre and sold to the highest bidder. Van der Sluijs-Plantz and two other persons in the audience won the bidding and paid 100, 110 and 120 euros, respectively, for the three books. The book is on sale in the Netherlands and Curaçao, and possibly in St. Maarten in the near future.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/76954-jacob-gelt-dekker-s-book-the-caribbean-presented