By Ray Chickrie
PARAMARIBO, Suriname — The Nederlands Daily, Dagblad, reports that the Dutch parliament on January 9 is urging Dutch King Willem Alexander to make a state visit to Suriname now that “diplomatic ties between the two countries have been strengthened after the departure of Desi Bouterse, who was president for ten years.”
“A state visit would be good to give the relationship a further boost” a majority of the House of Representatives have urged the cabinet. And according to the motion, “the King’s visit should take place in the context of the celebration of 46 years of Suriname’s independence. That will be celebrated in Suriname on November 25.”
Last state visit was in 1978, three years after Suriname became an independent country. “The last state visit of the Royal Family to the former colony of Suriname was in 1978, then Juliana was still queen.”
President of Suriname, Chandrika Prasad Santokhi announced his first presidential visit to the Netherlands on January 13. Since 2006, there has been no presidential visit from Suriname to Holland.
Sankokhi campaigned for closer ties with the Hague, and it will be his second overseas visit since taking office, Guyana being his first. The Netherlands foreign minister Stephen Blok visited Suriname in November 2020.
“Relations between both countries have intensified since the government of Santokhi / Brunswijk has taken office. The two foreign ministers have now started a journey of renewed cooperation,” Santokhi said. “Various discussions have led to the restoration of diplomatic relations between both countries at ambassador level. The technical cooperation has now been reactivated and has resulted in the Hoog Civil Service Conference in November 2020,” he also said in January 2020.
Santokhi added: “Various sectors have been identified for concrete cooperation, as well as the use of the remaining treaty resources. Support for discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also been confirmed.”
Under the previous government of Suriname, the economy was despondent, but conveniently, the Netherlands and the United States were blamed. However, it is remittances, travel and tourism from Holland and the United States that kept the economy afloat.
Reportedly, Santokhi would like Holland and the diaspora to invest in Suriname.