Published On: Fri, Jul 3rd, 2020

Emancipation Day Speech Minister of Culture Drs. Rodolphe Samuel

Minister of Culture Rodolphe Samuel

Sacred Legacies: Standing on the shoulders of giants

Emancipation, Emancipation, Emancipation

A word that brings about many reactions within us at the same time. When you truly know this word it takes you on a mental journey. Hearing the word EMANCIPATION takes you back in time, while you think about your present situation. Freedom, escaping and getting away from. There is always something, somewhere or someone that appears in your mind while you wonder about your future.


Imagine when the idea about running away from that place came to mind. The first thing was, who can I tell this to? Who can I trust? Who is not working for them? Who is not willing to agree with me? Who do I talk to that won’t work against me? When this person is found and told and the idea is approved then a meeting takes place.

The preparation, putting the idea in action starts. Not everyone is allowed to know. And you know why. During working hours the opportunity to run off and check out the best route would be created. The others had to work harder, to ensure that the portion of the work of the one who had to check the route was done. Not enough work done would mean keep an eye on the field the next day.

What would they eat while they are running away? This means that someone would have to eat less and go to sleep hungry so that food could be put aside for the one who is going to run away. Remember the one who is to run away eats all of their food because that one has to be strong for the journey.

Then the execution of the run to freedom takes place.

I am sure you can imagine, the distraction at that moment to make sure that the move is successful.

And then it is realized that someone is missing. And everyone had to come and lineup. Everyone is questioned and because no one knew anything, everyone would have to be punished. But everyone knew they had to be strong and endure whatever happened. Those giants went without eating, took all the punishment, and had to do the work as a contribution towards the emancipation of another person.

We the people of Sint Maarten are sometimes called to re-enact what our sacred giants have done so many times over and over in the past.

I have seen the times when we shared with each other not knowing if we would have enough for ourselves. Some of us would reflect on times after a hurricane.

But what about now, what about CORONA what about being in this KINGDOM? How much are we willing to do, as what our ancestors did for us? Sharing that 12.5% with those who don’t have while not knowing what your future looks like.

Are ready to be the giants on whom shoulders our future generations will stand? Emancipation day is indeed celebrated in this way once a year. But breaking free from the different chains is with us always in our minds.

On the plantation, everyone endured the sacrifice. Those who worked in the field and those who worked in the house. A successful run happened only when everyone contributed towards it.

What about us here in Sint Maarten?


Speech Drs. Rodolphe Samuel
Minister of Education, Youth Affairs, Culture & Sports (EYCS)
Freedom Fighters Roundabout, Philipsburg, St. Maarten – Wednesday, July 1, 2020


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Emancipation Day speech of the Prime Minister
Emancipation Day speech of the Governor