12 February 2014

Papiamentu spoken in Curacao Parliament - 56th Annniversary

Papiamentu spoken in Curacao Parliament since 1958


WILLEMSTAD — (February 9 was) exactly 56 years ago that the Parliament, at the time the Island Council, of Curaçao was addressed in Papiamentu.

Margaretha Modesto Apostel ‘Chano’ Margaretha (1911-1990) was the first parliamentarian who had the courage to do so, namely on February 8th 1958 in the Island Council of Curaçao. Although lieutenant governor Michael Gorsira had tackled Margareths about this the latter was undaunted and continued to speak in Papiamentu. He was convinced that the people who had voted for him should also understand his points presented in the Island Council. Democracy was pointless to Margaretha if the people were unable to understand his representatives in the Island Council. 

In a press report Minister of Education, Irene Dick, and Premier Ivar Asjes mentioned the importance of Margaretha’s move at the time. Both elaborate on it being a turning point in the linguistic usage and accessibility of the public debate. Minister Dick recalled that during the meeting of the Island Council on February 8th 1958 it was decided to allow the use of Papiamentu in public debate. “In 2012, February 9th was subsequently considered as the Day of Papiamentu”, Minister of Education, Irene Dick, said.

Premier Asjes applauded Margaretha’s daring at the time. “Chano Margaretha marked a historic moment in 1958 when he addressed the Island Council in Papiamentu. 
                                                            We must never forget this courageous heroic deed of a patriot.”

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