Parliament Follows Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs’ Decolonization Initiative While Adopting Dutch Jurists’ Claims of Racism in the Caribbean



Former Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — In September of 2015, former Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs became one of the first St. Maarteners to question the Netherlands regarding the United Nations’ doubts as to whether the Kingdom Charter had decolonized the islands of the former Netherlands Antilles.

He went on to profess that the United Nations had serious doubts regarding the sincerity of The Netherlands to decolonize the former Netherlands Antilles.  Continuing the groundwork laid down by former Prime Minister Gumbs, the Parliament of St. Maarten submitted a petition to two organs of the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) with the central premise being that there is unequal and racially biased treatment exercised between Dutch citizens in the Netherlands and Dutch citizens in the Caribbean.

In March of 2020, The Dutch International Commission of Jurists (NJCM), who are affiliated with Leiden University, affirmed that the “constitutional imbalance (between the Netherlands and the Caribbean Islands) upholds racialized discourses and practices.”  They also reported that ” The Dutch legislature and local (Dutch) governments differentiate between Dutch Citizens born in the European Netherlands, and those born in or migrating from the Dutch Caribbean.”

United Nations Special Rapporteur
E. Tendayi Achiume UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

In July of 2020, Special Rapporteur, E. Tendayi Achiume, “called for swift action to address persisting structures of racism” in The Netherlands.  Ms. Achiume, in her report entitled “Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance on her visit to The Netherlands“, contended that “different factors reinforce the view that to truly or genuinely belong (in The Netherlands) is to be white and of Western origin.”


Ms. Achiume stressed that “Individuals belonging to other racial and ethnic groups… are confronted with characterizations that they are neither truly nor wholly Netherlanders.”

Bear in mind that Dutch Member of Parliament Andre Bosman had proposed a law to regulate the migration of citizens of Aruba, Curacao, and St. Maarten to the Netherlands.  While the Bosman Initiative Law was ultimately rejected in September of 2016, a disappointed MP Bosman remarked, “Sooner or later, there will be a law like this one.

Prime Minister Rutte – Foto Sem van der Wal/ANP

In June of 2020, Prime Minister Rutte intimated that “Racism is a problem in the Netherlands” and that it “affects a lot of people in this country.”

In January of 2021, the Dutch government resigned after the tax authority in the Netherlands admitted that more than 10,000 people were “singled out for special scrutiny because of their ethnic origin or dual nationality, fuelling longstanding allegations of systemic racism in The Netherlands.” 

Please find attached the Special Rapporteur Netherlands Report 2020