Foreign Minister says `own people’ slandering Suriname

(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO – Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Lackin claimed that Surinamese, including highly placed officials and even legislators, want to malign Suriname by providing false information about the amnesty issue to international organizations with the intention to undermine or prevent positive developments in the country.

During a press conference yesterday evening in Hotel Torarica, Lackin harshly criticized the opposition in reply to questions about possible European Union (EU) sanctions against Suriname. De Ware Tijd, website Starnieuws and Times of Suriname published an article about this issue yesterday which was borrowed from the Dutch broadcaster NOS. Both Vice President Robert Ameerali and Minister Lackin emphatically deny there is a threat of sanctions and that the EU and Paramaribo have corresponded about this.

During a meeting between Ameerali and EU representative for Suriname Robert Kopecky, the latter denied the EU is planning to impose sanctions on Suriname. The report was called ‘misleading.’ Lackin pointed out that the meeting is a regularly scheduled one between Suriname and the EU under Article 8 of the revised Cotonou agreement with all ACP countries.

The EU wants to discuss several issues with Suriname, including economic cooperation, migration, regional affairs and human rights. De Ware Tijd has managed to obtain correspondence between the EU and the government showing that the heading ‘Human Rights and Governance’ contains agenda items including the effects of the Amnesty Act, the truth and reconciliation committee, and the death penalty. After the UN human rights commissioner had issued a sharp reaction to the adoption of the Amnesty Act, Ambassadors Henry MacDonald and Harvey Naarendorp were dispatched to Geneva immediately to provide the “correct” information about this issue and to assure the UN that no national or international laws have been violated, Lackin stated. “We can see how our own people want to malign our own country, and just have a need to see things go wrong,” he added.



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