Our Story, By Us
< Current local time in Suriname – Paramaribo
AMSTERDAM–The call for an apology for slavery from the Dutch authorities got an unprecedented boost last Saturday, when the Council of Churches released a statement in which it acknowledged its involvement in the inhumane practice. “As churches we know of our part in this blemished past and we have to acknowledge that theology was misused to justify slavery,” the statement said. The council said it regretted that it did not have these insights earlier.
“(Slavery) is a story of white Dutchmen, of Government and also of the church,” said Council chairman Klaas van de Kamp in a televised discussion on Friday. He said the church held a prominent place in the community back then, but systematically chose to look the other way. “We have a beautiful gospel, but we failed to apply it. Instead we chose to make money (from slavery),” Van de Kamp said. He said it is time the white Dutchman acknowledges his role in the “black holocaust.”
The extensive statement by the Council was presented to the Moravian Church on Saturday at a ceremony in the north Holland city of Amersfoort. It was addressed to the “churches and the descendants of people who were once traded and put to work as slaves.” The statement noted that descendants live in Suriname, Aruba, Curaçao, St. Maarten, the Dutch Caribbean and the Netherlands.
PARAMARIBO–Suriname’s tobacco legislation took effect as of Friday June 7th. As of now anyone caught smoking in public, selling cigarettes to minors or importing excessive amounts of cigarettes, faces jail time and stiff fines. The Ministry of Health jump started the new law with speeches and the start of its anti-smoking campaign.
The National Assembly passed the Anti-Tobacco Legislation last February, with 39 votes in favor and 13 against. The law virtually only allows people to smoke at home, in their cars or other private places. Violation is punishable with jail time, as is importing excessive amounts of cigarettes. Selling loose cigarettes is also forbidden and advertising banned, while packaging has to carry graphic warnings that smoking kills.
Government said the public smoking ban is intended to discourage the unhealthy habit and to prevent people from inhaling secondhand smoke, which in turn should lead to a healthier community. The new legislation won Suriname praise from health watchdog Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC); ministry officials were lauded last month by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) for their roles in the passing of the landmark legislation.
PARAMARIBO–The dismissal of two Ministers from President Desi Bouterse’s cabinet is growing a tail. Coalition and opposition parliamentarians were unanimous and adamant in their demands on Tuesday that the President immediately present himself in the National Assembly to explain their gathering why Public Works Minister Ramon Abrahams and Zoning Minister Ginmardo Kromosoeto were sacked. But Bouterse also faces questions from his constituency. Opposition members walked out of the public meeting of the National Assembly Tuesday, after Parliament Chair Jennifer Simons-Geerlings read a letter in which the President only announced that he was accepting the Ministers’ resignations.
He gave no further explanation as to what led to the new development in his cabinet. After reading the President’s letter Simons-Geerlings aimed to continue the meeting “to allow Bouterse to come to Parliament”, but to no avail.
The news that Abrahams and Kromosoeto would no longer form part of Bouterse’s cabinet broke late Monday night. Both are from the President’s National Democratic Party (NDP) and both made headlines in recent weeks: Kromosoeto regarding irregularities with land issuance and Abrahams regarding concerns that he was granting lucrative Public Works contracts to friends and family. Abrahams has refuted the allegations; Kromosoeto told journalists he did not get fired, but rather tendered his resignation.
PARAMARIBO–The vessels for Suriname’s Coast Guard have set sail for the country. The go-fast boats that are produced by French manufacturer Ocea were loaded aboard the cargo ship Martha in the harbor of Saint-Nazaire in western France. The Martha is expected to make the voyage to Suriname in three weeks, French naval news website Meretmarine reported on Wednesday.
Government ordered the three vessels earlier this year, for the Coast Guard unit that is now being set up. Reports are that personnel is now undergoing trained to man the boats, that will be deployed to fight maritime crime and conduct patrol duties.
Government ordered FPB 98 type and FPB 72 type ships from Ocea. The FPB 98 type is 32 meters in length and 6.3 meters wide. The FPB 72 type is 24 meters long. The vessels can reach speeds of 30 knots.
On June 1, the fourth comprehensive health check was offered at pharmacy Karis. People could have their blood pressure and blood glucose level checked. 32 persons had their Body Mass Index (BMI), Body fat percentage and Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR) measured. These last 3 measurements show whether some one is overweight and has a risk for developing cardiovascular disease.
Not that many diabetics showed up but the ones that came, stated that a diabetic foot screening was not performed at their doctor’s clinic or they hardly ever received information that it was possible to have one. Nowadays, plenty opportunities are available to get health education or at least some information, usually for a small fee. Why it seems to be normal to provide information regarding blood pressure or medicine intake, but seldom about the feet, remains a question.
Of the 32 customers from age 7 -78 years, 71,9% had an elevated BMI and 68,8% a higher than normal body fat percentage. 53,1% had a WHR that was too high. The women scored bad in all these three measurements! They showed up in bigger numbers, 71,8% was female, but as seen before at previous health checks at Karis, this is usually the case. A good 87,5% of the participants did not wear proper footwear including the diabetics!
The health check happened in cooperation with Kendan International, a company that specializes in medical products.
By Tanya Frijmersum (health educator and physiotherapist)
Hamburg / Paramaribo – German natural gas and crude oil exploration/ production company RWE Dea, on Wednesday announced that it has signed a farm-in agreement with PETRONAS Suriname E&P BV (“PETRONAS Suriname”), acquiring a 40% interest in the license Block 52 off the coast of Suriname. RWE Dea said it the move “will secure entry into Suriname’s proven hydrocarbon potential.”
RWE Dea joins several other international companies that have shown interest in the oil fields off Suriname’s coast in recent years, after a 2011 discovery off the coast of French Guiana was described as “game changer” for the region’s oil prospects. Earlier Texan oil company Apache and Californian Chevron joined the offshore oil hunt. Last month Staatsolie signed with Malaysian national oil company Petronas, for the production sharing contract that RWE Dea now has shares in.
Under the farm-in agreement which is subject to completion, RWE Dea will acquire a 40% stake in the license for Block 52. The license area covers 4,743 square kilometers and is located in the Guyana-Suriname Basin, some 120 kilometers off the northeast coast of South America in water depths ranging from 100 to 1,000 meters. PETRONAS Suriname is the operator of this prospective exploration area with high-impact potential in Upper Cretaceous strata. The planned work programme for Block 52 comprises a 3D seismic survey and the drilling of one exploration well in the next three years.
PARAMARIBO–The U.S. Embassy handed over a mobile drug interdiction unit to the Korps Politie Suriname (KPS) at the opening of an investigative skills training at the Police Academy on Monday, June 10. The mobile interdiction unit was funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) and is part of U.S. efforts to assist Suriname as it builds capacity to combat drug trafficking and transnational crime. Police Chief Humphrey Tjin Liep Shie accepted the vehicle on behalf of KPS.
The mobile interdiction unit includes over US$20,000 of equipment to assist police in detecting illicit drugs and other contraband.
The program included remarks from Police Chief Tjin Liep Shie and Ambassador Anania. In his remarks, Ambassador Anania, stated “The drug trade exacts an enormous toll on our economies, on our societies, and on our citizens. The mobile interdiction unit is part of our work with Suriname to improve citizen safety by working together to reduce illicit trafficking, increase public safety and security, and promote social justice.”
This project links to the goals of the Caribbean Basic Security Initiative, the program through which the United States works with the nations of the Caribbean to combat the drug trade and other transnational crimes that threaten regional security.
The mobile interdiction unit is equipped to assist police authorities in detecting drugs and other contraband and to improve their searching ability of vehicles. This is the first time that such technology has been made available in Suriname.
By Dr Cory Couillard
We depend on over the counter pain medications to help ease headaches, achy joints and raging fevers. Conversely, could the side effects of these medications outweigh the benefits? Many trusted over-the-counter pain medications contain acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin that can have deadly side effects if taken in excess. Acetaminophen is one of the most popular over-the-counter painkillers but research has shown that it could be your liver’s worst enemy.
Most documented cases of liver damage are from long-term use but new research is challenging even their short-term use. The latest research shows that taking slightly too much acetaminophen over a period of several days can pose serious threats as well. “Even supposedly safe amounts of acetaminophen — doses close to 4,000 milligrams (mg) per day, the current daily limit — may be quite toxic to the liver in a small number of people,” according to the Harvard Medical School.
Also, you may be getting more acetaminophen than you think. It’s used in more than 600 medications. Initial symptoms of liver toxicity from acetaminophen are often vague — fatigue and nausea — and easily confused with the symptoms associated with the illness attempting to be treated with the drug.
PARAMARIBO– As part of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, maritime experts from the United States spent the last two weeks teaching advanced boarding techniques and procedures to 20 Surinamese Navy Sailors and Maritime Police Officers. This training is the sixth in a series of 10 different training courses in 2012 and 2013 that cover boarding tactics, small boat operations, and engine maintenance. This series of training is also part of broader US/Surinamese engagement on Maritime Security which has previously included training on port security with the Maritime Authority of Suriname.