(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO — Roman Catholic bishop Wilhelmus de Bekker claims that President Desi Bouterse has issued unfounded accusations of his participation in the protest march against the adopted Amnesty Act. ‘His arguments are hollow. I have been living in Suriname for the past 34 years and I definitely don’t think like the former colonizers. The President uses cheap words without a sound fundament when he says that we want to destabilize the country.’
De Bekker responded to the fierce criticism by Bouterse last Saturday at the unity manifestation. The church official, who was called by named by the President, reiterates that the right order towards real reconciliation is first confession, then forgiveness and then reconciliation and not demonstrating unity and announce reconciliation. SPA chair Guno Castelen was also Bouterse’s target. ‘Mr. Bouterse must have seen his own image in the mirror, because it wasn’t the opposition who adopted the Amnesty Act. He calls us his enemies because we don’t share his opinion. Aren’t we allowed to have different opinions?’ Castelen says that Bouterse should really evaluate his own actions because that is what makes people form alliances against him.
Bouterse who fiercely criticized the participants of the protest march argued that they only focus on the fifteen people who died in the past 300 years, but that they seem to forget the soldiers and police officers who died recently because of violence. ‘Let them stop fooling us: why don’t they think of common man. Isn’t justice also for the people of the hinterland? We’re talking about a mere fifteen people who died in the past 300 years,’ Bouterse repeated in front of a huge crowd. Bouterse said that despite the deceptive arguments to draw young people for the march, their participation was poor. ‘It doesn’t matter how many marches they organize. Look at today’s manifestation at Valiantsplein: it drew only 150 young people.’
The President insists that the actions are meant to disturb the political and economic peace in Suriname since the country seems to be doing well without the help of the Netherlands. In addition, the government is now charting all natural resources for future generations. ‘This is the moment that they’ll attack us to distract us from our goal. But I can’t be distracted by Bekkers and Choennie’s,’ said Bouterse ‘These lackeys of the colonizers cannot convince us to come to their side. They are the true enemies of the people.’ The president boasted support and praises from Caricom and EU countries. He has recently had talks with the presidents of Mexico and Brazil. ‘I don’t worry about Rutte or Wilders. I talk at higher levels,’ said Bouterse..