(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO – Currently Suriname has a population of 534,000 people, 498,000 of whom are Surinamers and 36,000 foreigners. The electoral roll which counted 324,000 people in 2010 has grown to 331,000. Consultant for the Central Bureau for Population Registry (CBB), Anton Paal, tells de Ware Tijd that the Surinamese population grows by 1 percent per year.
Last week, Paal and Michael Kromodimedjo, system manager at CBB, presented the report ‘Determining the Status Quo of Population Registry’ to Home Affairs Minister Soewarto Moestadja. The report included the latest figures. The 2004 census revealed that Suriname has a population of 492,829 people. In August this year, the Bureau for Statistics will start a new census. Paal considers the 1 percent growth normal. Despite daily cleaning of the population data the consultant does not expect major shifts. The report deals in detail with many issues. In some cases people were unjustly included on the electoral roll, while others were excluded. Those wrongs have now been righted. Paal is convinced that if the authorities stick to the letter of the report there will not be problems worth mentioning on the electoral roll.
“Voting data could be reproduced at any given time of day with a simple push on the button.” Paal points out that there is no automatic growth of the population in the ten districts. Coronie, for example, show a drain, because people are moving to other districts. The population of Paramaribo has grown, simply because more people are born compared to the deaths. Wanica is the district with the highest growth. The district is favored by people moving to the urban areas. “Candidates in Wanica at the next elections may be in for a surprise, because now they will need a lot more votes to secure a seat in Parliament.”
The consultant expects that, given the current trend, the population of Wanica will exceed that of Paramaribo in 15 years. The cleaning of the population registers and the electoral roll offers the opportunity to deal with the problem of the undelivered voting cards. In 2005 officials failed to deliver 69,000 voting cards. Now that Paal has cleaned up the files he confirms that there were too many voters on the list in 2005. “In 2005 twenty percent of the voting cards were not delivered. However, in 2010, for the first time in history, only 10.3 percent of the voting cards were undelivered.” There were 324,369 voters in 2010. With the current growth of the population and the consequent growth of the number of voters Paal expects 341,000 people to be on the electoral roll in 2015. Save for the small errors, which will be corrected, Paal expects the lists to be accessible within six months. He and Kromodimedjo worked three months on the report.