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WASHINGTON–Suriname will modernize its revenue management and improve tax collection in the medium and long-term with a US$20 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
This is the first of three programmatic policy-based loans supporting the country’s reform agenda for the fiscal sector, the bank said in a press release. This loan will complement the Bank supported public expenditure reforms currently underway. This program will lay the foundation for a modern revenue system through the improvement of its tax policy and tax and customs administration.
The project will support measures to develop clear and concise tax legislation, introduce modern regulations and streamline processes to cut compliance costs for the tax payer and improve taxpayer services. The project will also help modernize customs to facilitate trade and increase revenue by improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the Customs Administration.
Measures supported by the project include training and improvement of customs procedures as well as the creation of an electronic platform that will enable data to be shared among different government agencies.
The IDB loan has a 20-year maturity, a 5.5-year grace period and an interest rate based on LIBOR
AMSTERDAM–As President Desi Bouterse’s son Dino insisted in court on Thursday that he was innocent of plotting terrorist attacks on the US, two experts are saying that he may indeed have been tricked by Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Dino (40) was arrested in Panama in August, initially on drugs and weapons charges, and since two weeks on charges that he was forging ties with terrorist group Hezbollah. “He was duped,” Michael Levine, a former DEA agent told Dutch media on Thursday night. Geert-Jan Knoops, an international lawyer said it remains to be seen whether the Judge in Manhattan who presides over the case will accept the evidence.
Dino terrorism indictment that was announced on November 9th caused nationwide shock in Suriname. The President’s son who in the past already had run-ins with authorities, had been caught on tape offering his services to purported members of Hezbollah in return for an initial US$ 2 million pay-off he expected to come from Iran. Prior to that he shipped 10 kilograms of cocaine from Suriname to the US and brandished firearms. He could face up to life in prison for the three counts in his indictment.
But the experts interviewed by Dutch TV news magazine Nieuwsuur say the accusation is fabricated and full of holes. Levine said the DEA agents Dino is seen talking to on the tape are adept at making cases, especially when it concerns an attractive suspect that could get them big rewards and yield major headlines. The former DEA agent compared the men who work for the agency these days as “paid bounty hunting freelancers” and “paid criminal informants.”
By Marvin Hokstam
PARAMARIBO–While on Friday embattled do-gooder Sinterklaas and his slavish black faced helper Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) were getting pummeled by bad weather as they delivered goodies to children all over the Netherlands, Suriname was banning the tradition that has become the center of heated racism debates.
The Ministry of Education and Community Development MINOV said in a press release on Wednesday night that December 5th, Children’s Day would be celebrated without the “Sint and Piet”. “It is important that on Children’s Day the attention is focused solely on the children, as opposed to sub characters that don’t have any relationship with our culture,” the release said.
The resolute stance by the Ministry follows an unprecedented agreement among opposition and coalition parties in the National Assembly last year that Suriname should drop this controversial remnant of Dutch culture. The Sinterklaas tradition had already been scrapped in the eighties, but in recent years, spurred on by commerce, the bearded do-gooder and his pitch black helper somehow retraced their steps back into Suriname. Parliamentarians unanimously voted for his indefinite departure from the Surinamese scene.
PARAMARIBO–Chantal Doekhie who has headed Suriname’s embassy in the Netherlands for the past year-and-a-half will formally be accredited on December 11th, 2013. This news that may serve as a another tangible signal that the Netherlands wants to thaw its relationship with Suriname, comes just days after the Kingdom Ministers approved the appointment of charge d’affaires Ernst Noorman as ambassador in Paramaribo. But while the Netherlands finally seems ready to accredit Doekhie, Suriname’s Foreign Ministry has hinted that accrediting Noorman is not on top of Government’s priority list.
Relations between Suriname and its former colonizer froze up in 2012, after the National Assembly passed an amendment to the amnesty laws that could see President Desi Bouterse and 24 fellow suspects pardoned for their role in the December 8 killings of 15 citizens. The amendment indefinitely derailed the hearings in the trial of the December 8 murders, in which Bouterse was the main suspect.
PARAMARIBO—Three men –one of them a tourist from the Netherlands- faced a stiff fine after they were found with protected birds in district Commewijne last weekend.
Police reported that the two of the men claimed they had been touring the district when a man offered them red ibises; the species that is also known as scarlet ibis has a protected status throughout the world. The men bought 13 carcasses of the bird that is popular because of its brightly colored plumage. They were held by police after a villager saw them carrying the birds. The seller was also traced and arrested. The deal cost the men 13,000 Surinamese dollars (some US$ 4,000), 1000 Surinamese dollars for each bird.
PARAMARIBO–On Saturday, November 30th 2013, the A Ganar program, which is funded through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), graduated 142 youth who completed a comprehensive three-phased technical/ vocational and life skills training program and completed on-the-job training.
The program provides a second chance to school dropouts and other at-risk youth ages 16 to 24 and uses a team sports methodology to deliver life skills training. The Program is designed to combat youth unemployment.
The graduating youth were trained, mentored, counseled and guided through partnerships with five local foundations: Women’s Business Group, Stichting RUMAS, Pater Ahlbrinck Stichting, Stichting Vonzell and Stichting TANA. Over a seven to nine month period, the youth learned a variety of vocational skills such as administration (secretarial, office assistant), hospitality (culinary arts and serving techniques), welding, wood working, agriculture and elderly care.
PARAMARIBO–Gold miner IAMGOLD has announced that it will develop and operate a solar power project in Suriname. “The project will help meet the electricity requirements of the mine in district Brokopondo and at the same time free up power for use by other customers in Suriname, the company said in a press release.
The release said the solar installation will produce five megawatts; it will cost IAMGOLD about $14 million, including site access and preparation. It is slated to be operational from the beginning of the third quarter of 2014. “IAMGOLD is fulfilling a prior commitment to the Government of Suriname through this green project,” the release said.
Canada headquartered IAMGOLD since 2006 operates the profitable Gros Rosebel gold mine. In April this year the company signed a new agreement with Government, which cut IAMGOL’s 90 percent stake to 70, and effectively made Government a partner in Rosebel Gold Mines NV, the joint company that operates the mine in district Brokopondo, where in 2011 some 385,000 ounces of gold was produced.
AMSTERDAM–After pulling its ambassador from Suriname in April 2012 in disagreement with political developments in the country, the Netherlands has finally decided it wants proper representation in Paramaribo again. The Kingdom Council of Ministers on Friday approved the appointment of Ernst Noorman as ambassador.
Noorman, a career diplomat who previously served as ambassador in Burkini Faso, has served as charge d’affaires in Paramaribo since June this year. His appointment as ambassador will take effect after it has been accorded by Suriname’s Government. Dutch Foreign Minister Fran’s Timmermans who recommended Noorman for the ambassador’s post said he was convinced Paramaribo would react positively, as Noorman has worked n the country for some months now.
Timmermans has adopted the position of his predecessor Yuri Rosenthal, who pulled former ambassador Art Jacobi out of Suriname after the country’s National Assembly approved an amendment to its amnesty legislation that could see President Bouterse and 24 fellow suspects pardoned for the 1982 murders of 15 citizens.
AMSTERDAM–Women of Surinamese and Antillean origin are probably the hardest working women in the Netherlands, according to a report by the Dutch Bureau of Statistics CBS. The report that was released a few weeks ago also says that most employed Surinamese and Antillean work full time, even while it remains tough for women of their origin to land a job in the Netherlands.
The report says that only 27 percent of native Dutch women have a full time job, whereas 46 percent of the second generation non-western women work full time; the percentage for first generation non-western women is 36.
By Marvin Hokstam
PARAMARIBO–A website that offers Bulgarian passports for US$ 5,900 is probably nothing more than a perverse scam, but Bulgarian Vice President Margarita Popova has nonetheless instructed security services to investigate. The site was discovered by Bulgarian journalist Ivan Dimov of Trud Newspaper, investigating people who slip into his country with false passports. “I had never before heard of Suriname. When I told the Vice President about it she was shocked. They are looking into it, but the problem is that Bulgaria and Suriname have not established direct diplomatic relationships,” Dimov said.
The website makes big promises in return for the US$ 5,900. “Through our contacts in Sofia (Bulgaria) we are able to arrange legal residency in Bulgaria within 30 days. Full citizenship and passport can be arranged within 90 days,” it says, also offering entire family packages with the requirement of 30% advance pay. Payment is to be made to Filho and Carvalho Immigration Consultants, whose office is at Gompert Straat in Paramaribo.
Joint investigations by Dimov, DevSur and journalist Tom van Moll of De Ware Tijd showed though that the address is fake and the phone number is unlisted; it previously used to belong to a well-known hotel chain in the country. There was also no registration at Suriname’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Filho and Carvalho Immigration Consultants. The site itself is registered with a hosting company in Kirkland, Seattle, USA.