THE HAGUE, PARAMARIBO – The Surinamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs accepts the apologies of Minister Stef Blok (Foreign Affairs) after he had named Suriname a failed state, “and that has to do with ethnic division.” At the end of July, Blok apologized in a letter to Foreign Minister Yldiz Pollack-Beighle. The Surinamese government writes in a statement that “the case has been dealt with.”
Suriname continues with business as usual after accepting the formal apologies. The apologies were initially not accepted because Blok had not taken back his words.
Blok also contacted Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten before. The Curaçao Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath had condemned Bloks controversial statements and pointed out that Curaçao is also a society where diversity is celebrated.
Blok made the controversial statement during a private meeting in The Hague at the end of July. The term failed state is often used to indicate a country where the government has lost its authority. The minister also stated that he could not name an example of a country where different ethnic groups live together peacefully. This caused a stir at home and abroad.
Motion of no confidence
Recordings of Bloks’ speech at the conference came in the hands of TV program Zembla. Officials had written a speech for the minister, but Block departed from that. He asked the audience to mention an example of a country where ethnic groups live together peacefully. Then there was a present ‘Suriname’, on which the minister laughed.
At the same conference, he also doubted the integration model openly: “Deep in our genes is that we want a well-organized group and we are not able to connect with unknown people.” That statement also caused a commotion.
At the beginning of September, Blok had to justify his statement to the Dutch Parliament in a six-hour debate. He then survived a vote of no confidence.