Sigrid Kaag, the deputy prime minister of the Netherlands, is currently in Suriname to speak with President Chandrikapersad Santokhi about the planned Dutch apologies for historical slavery.
The visit occurs as the Dutch government prepares to deliver a formal apology to the lineages of Africans who were held as slaves in its former territories on Monday.
A few weeks ago, the Dutch cabinet’s plans were leaked to the public, sparking a heated debate on this contentious topic.
Santokhi stated that his administration has still not been properly told by the Netherlands about the apologies during a news conference earlier this week and again in parliament on Thursday.
The head of state said that while he didn’t have anything against the previous colonizer’s intentions, he thought the issue should have been brought up at the official level.
According to the president, Monday should only be viewed as the beginning of a procedure that will end with a formal confession of remorse.
The president added that this issue will not be handled by the government alone, but rather by the National Assembly, the Surinamese National Reparations Commission, and interest groups representing the descendants of slaves who deal with this issue.
The president, who also serves as the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) current head, claimed that he recently spoke with Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley on the matter of reparations, which has been on the CARICOM agenda for a number of years.
Kaag will meet with a legislative committee as well as many ministers while he is there. According to rumours, she will outline the Dutch government’s plans for what it intends to do on Monday.
A “important” message on the country’s past involvement in slavery will be sent, according to multiple statements made by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
Interest groups with Surinamese and Dutch roots are incensed that the Dutch government unilaterally selected the date of December 19 and did not consult them before making the decision.
They suggest that it is pointless for the Netherlands to issue an apology that is rejected.
Several Dutch-based organisations sued the Dutch government last week to prevent it from carrying out its plan to offer a formal apology on Monday. Other claims, such as the removal of the Surinamese visa requirement for travel to the Netherlands, were also connected to this action.