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PARAMARIBO–President Desi Bouterse has called on the people of the Caribbean to make 2012 the Year of Change. Addressing the region in his capacity of Chairman of CariCom –a position he assumed as of January 1st 2012- the President said that “by changing the way we do things, this Community will be a changed one – for the better – by the end of 2012.”
Hinting that the uncertainty caused by the continuing global crisis reigns throughout the world, and that the Caribbean is no exception, Bouterse said that Caricom and its secretariat in Guyana must operate as efficiently and effectively as possible. “The global economic and financial crisis shows no signs of abating, with the resulting challenges of unemployment, low or negative growth and increasing disparity between the rich and the poor. Given the relationship between the economic health of the major nations and its effect on us in CARICOM, it requires a major effort to overcome the challenges presented by this on-going situation. It also requires that we take a hard look at the way we operate, and accept changes that may be necessary,” the Suriname president said.
He said the challenges can be overcome if Caricom states bind themselves even closer together. “We stand a better chance to confront these challenges as a group united, than each swimming against the tide alone,” he said.
Bouterse said it is the task of the Caricom secretariat in Guyana to lead the change. He said the review of the Secretariat must be completed and the relevant recommendations implemented to improve the management and operation of the Secretariat, as it is Caricom’s principal organ. Ambassador LaRocque who was appointed Secretary General in August last year, should be the change agent who leads from the front. “My colleagues and I have every confidence in the ability of Ambassador LaRocque to effect the necessary repositioning of the Secretariat,” Bouterse said.
NEW YORK–President Desi Bouterse has said that the global community should engage in meaningful partnerships and joint endeavors to address the impacts of non-communicable diseases. He cautioned at a UN meeting that started in New York on Monday, that the impending political declaration on NCD’s falls short of the expectations of the Caribbean Community. The President said that while the Caricom states see “significant stimulus to prevent and control NCD’s” the declaration does not elaborate on a clear goal and roadmap for the global campaign. “There is a lack of strong commitment on targets, resources and a global collaborative NCD mechanism,” Bouterse said.
Bouterse travelled to New York on Sunday, to address the 66th General Session of the United Nations in New York, where he shared the views of the 15-member bloc of which Suriname has been a member since 1995. Non-communicable diseases –heart and vein ailments, cancer, diabetes and chronic long illnesses- are the leading cause of death thorughout the world; upon his departure, Bouterse’s Cabinet had said that NCD’s are rampant in Suriname and in other Caribbean countries and that they would be tabled at the UN session.
Addressing the high level meeting on Monday, the President said that Caricom considered it “a source of pride, gratitude and accomplishment” that the UN convened a Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Non Communicable Diseases. “Four years ago, in Port of Spain, Heads of State and Government of CARICOM expressed alarm at the impact of NCDs on our societies. Our deep concern stimulated urgent efforts within CARICOM member states, as well as initiatives at the international level, to enlist greater attention to address NCDs,” he said.
UN member states are expected to sign the declaration at the end of the meeting; according to Bouterse the document “makes vivid the gravity of the impact of the NCD epidemic, particularly on development, stresses the primacy of prevention and the importance of multi‐sectoral approaches, emphasizes the cost effectiveness of responses and the desirability of an effective partnership involving all stakeholders and commits to the implementation of a range of actions to combat NCDs and their risk factors, including through specific follow-up initiatives.”
While he noted some shortcomings, Bouterse said the declaration, if scrupulously implemented, could contribute in meaningful ways to achieving the internationally agreed development goals. “We see a significant stimulus to prevent and control NCDs through the reorientation and strengthening of national health systems, universal access to available medicines, and the technology for preventing and treating these diseases,” he said.
PARAMARIBO–Economist Adeline Wijnerman will be the new Minister of Finance, Krin Denki, the news website of President Desi Bouterse’s National Democratic Party (NDP) revealed on Tuesday June 15th. Both the President and Wijnerman have meanwhile confirmed the news.
Wijnerman is a 46-year-old career civil servant, who for the past five years has served as the Director of the Ministry. She replaces Wonnie Boedhoe who on Friday June 8th abruptly resigned, citing personal circumstances.
Krin Denki (Sranan for Pure Thoughts) reports that President Bouterse is happy with the replacement. Wijnerman is a staunch supporter of NDP and “we’re lucky to find someone who has been at the Ministry for years and knows its ins and outs,” the President is quoted as saying. He said that Wijnerman, who has more than 20 years at the Ministry, is the ideal candidate for the job.
Wijnerman will be sworn in on Wednesday June 16. Former Minister Boedhoe’s resignation and Wijnerman’s appointment come just days before Government presents the 2012 budget to Parliament. Boedhoe prepared it, supposedly with Wijnerman’s involvement.
Boedhoe is the second Minister to last less than a year in Bouterse’s Cabinet; the President in December 2010, less than four months after his Government took reign, fired Minister Martinus Sastroredjo of Spatial Planning, Domain and Forestry Management over irregularities with land issuance.
Bouterse has recently hinted that he is not satisfied with the performance of several people in his team. He named no names and blamed “broken” infrastructures within Government for the performance of the people in question, but said on Tuesday though that he doesn’t intend to keep replacing people. “If you do, you confuse things,” he told journalists.
PARAMARIBO–Finance Minister Wonnie Boedhoe abruptly resigned on Friday June 8th, citing personal circumstances, President Desi Bouterse’s office has said. “In consultation with Mrs Boedhoe will be examined how she would be deployed and how the transfer of the Ministry of Finance will take place,” a statement from the president’s office read. Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Lackin will temporarily fill in the post. Speculations are meanwhile abound one who will replace Boedhoe permanently.
According to the statement, Bouterse accepted Boedhoe’s request and thanked her for her service since her appointment 10 months ago. Boedhoe is the second Minister to last less than a year in Bouterse’s Cabinet; Bouterse in December, less than four months after his Government took reign, fired Minister Martinus Sastroredjo of Spatial Planning, Domain and Forestry Management.
HAVANA, Cuba–President Bouterse has highlighted the excellent state of relations with Cuba, as well as his country’s interest in deepening cooperation bonds, Cuban media are reporting. Bouterse arrived in Cuba on Tuesday May 24, on a two-day official visit in response to an official invitation by his Cuban counterpart, President Raul Castro Ruz.
“We have a new opportunity to explore other possibilities, see what we have to offer each other to expand cooperation. We’re convinced that the visit will be a success,” Cuba’s La Prensa quotes Bouterse as saying.
The Cuba visit made local headlines on Wednesday, when it turned out that despite announcing that a group of businessmen was supposed to travel along with the president, none had gone.
Bouterse is scheduled to hold official talks with Cuban President Castro, in addition to carrying out other activities.
ST. GEORGES, Grenada–President Desi Bouterse has sought to secure the endorsement from fellow Caricom Heads of State, to establish a Regional Sports Academy in Suriname. During the Heads of Government Conference that just concluded in Grenada, the president also announced Suriname’s interest in hosting the Caribbean Festival of Arts in 2013.
Aided by Suriname’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Henry MacDonald, President Bouterse set out to give a detailed presentation on the Regional Sports Institute. He said that the institute will complement existing sport programs in the region, while it will assist in deepening regional integration. “Suriname maintains the view that we can play a vital role in contributing towards this development in the future, since sport is an important tool to address critical health, social and developmental issues,” the President said.
He reiterated his administration’s confidence in the capacities and capabilities of the Caribbean youth’s creative and vibrant talents irrespective of where they come from. “We are all aware that sport can provide youth with a positive future regarding their personal development. Sports means investments, but it also means foreign currency income for families and for our countries. Through the establishment of a unique Regional Sports Academy, the sports industry in our region will be generated and elevated to international standards,” he said.
PARAMARIBO –President Desi Bouterse and his Guyanese counterpart Bharat Jagdeo are meeting in the border district of Nickerie on Friday November 19th, online newsmedium GFC News has reported. Jagdeo will visit Suriname on Friday November 19th.
The two presidents are reportedly planning to discuss expansion of existing cooperation agreements between their South American nations. Jagdeo is also planning to address the Guyanese community in Nickerie, Suriname’s western district that lies on the Corantyne river, the natural border between Suriname and Guyana .