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Caribbean newsnow

Suriname president backs vice-president over censorship


Caribbeannewsnow.com
Last Update: May 16, 2007

PARAMARIBO, Suriname: President Ronald Venetiaan is backing vice-president Ram Sardjoe over his intervention last Thursday, which led to cancellation of a news show on a state-owned TV station here. In an invited comment, the president noted the tactical approach of the vice-president in handling the issue.

By Ivan Cairo
Caribbean Net News Suriname Correspondent
Email: ivan@caribbeannetnews.com


PARAMARIBO, Suriname: President Ronald Venetiaan is backing his vice-president Ram Sardjoe over his intervention last Thursday, which led to cancellation of a popular news show on a state-owned TV station here.












Suriname President Ronald Venetiaan. AFP PHOTO


In an invited comment, the president on Tuesday noted the tactical approach of the vice-president in handling the issue. “I commend the vice president for the cautious manner he handled this case,” said Venetiaan.


The vice-president made a “strong request” to producers of the news show Suriname Today (Suriname Vandaag) not to show an interview with individuals over the Taiwan-issue. The producers however wouldn’t cooperate in censoring the program, which eventually led to termination of the broadcast Thursday evening.


That broadcasting comments of individuals was strongly advised against, was no form of censorship or restriction of the right of expression, vice-president Sardjoe claimed.


The Head of State argued that people should bear in mind that this was a government TV station that had the intention to broadcast a controversial issue regarding the country’s bilateral relations.


“What is being said on a state-owned medium has effect on this relation,” said President Venetiaan.


As an example, he called to mind that at a particular private radio/TV station (ABC radio/tv) reporters are forbidden to interview a certain individual (former dictator Desi Bouterse).


During Bouterse’s dictatorship ABC’s founder and director Andre Kamperveen was murdered by military forces, while the station was burned down on December 8, 1982. The station was rebuilt during the ‘90s.


“Nobody at that station dares to interview him but, when the government does something similar, this is causing commotion,” said the president. “I compliment the vice-president,” he reiterated.

President Venetiaan further noted that the government is not opposing discussions on the China-Taiwan issue, which is a “very sensitive one”. But the people should bear in mind that the government has already made a choice to adhere to the One-China policy and in doing so the state is committed to stick to that.


“People should not expect that since we have made a commitment to stick to the One-China policy, all of a sudden we should defect. An agreement is an agreement,” the president stated.

That on the China-Taiwan controversy, he is getting support from within the NDP, Suriname’s main opposition party, the president sees as a plus on the government’s position.


“Every comment that underscores today’s reality regarding this issue is beneficial to the Surinamese people and as such a reinforcement,” Venetiaan further added.


Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and former ambassador to China, Henk Herrenberg, publicly claimed that, since Suriname started diplomatic relations with China in 1976, it should stick to this policy.


According to Herrenberg, a top NDP-official, in its international and diplomatic relations Suriname is better off with sticking to Beijing, since China has a permanent seat in the UN Security Council and is playing a major role in international politics. China was the first country to recognize Suriname after the country gained independence from the Netherlands in November 1975.


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