St Vincent Prime Minister wraps up official visit to Suriname
By Ivan Cairo
PARAMARIBO, Suriname — Dr Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, wrapped up a four-day official visit to Suriname over the weekend. Gonsalves arrived in Suriname last Wednesday to discuss bilateral issues with Suriname’s president Desi Bouterse immediately following the two-day meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of government in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, last week.
“It is a state visit to exchange ideas and to discuss agreements we have made within CARICOM. There are also issues we wanted to discuss privately, of course, concerning the Caribbean. Because sometimes there are bottlenecks,” Bouterse told local journalists.
As an example, he mentioned the problems that a Surinamese producer is experiencing through obstacles created by the Trinidadian authorities preventing him from exporting Surinamese duck meat to Trinidad and Tobago.
“As a government, we encourage and stimulate entrepreneurs to invest, but when they have produced, they cannot get their products on the markets in the region. Therefore as CARICOM leaders we have to talk about these issues. We have to determine these kinds of things within laws and regulations. There is still a lot of work to be done,” Bouterse said.
Among the several issues the two government leaders discussed were cooperation in the field of agriculture, trade and foreign investments in the CARICOM member states and other matters of mutual interest.
The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) adopted on Friday, February 23, by 19 votes in favour, five against, eight abstentions and two absences, a resolution on the latest events in Venezuela.
The resolution called on the government of Venezuela to reconsider its decision to advance the date of the presidential elections to April 22, 2018, and to present a new electoral calendar that enables the carrying out of elections with all necessary guarantees of a free, fair, transparent, legitimate and credible elections process.
Suriname and St Vincent and the Grenadines were among the five OAS members that voted against this resolution. Within the region and the wider hemisphere Suriname and St Vincent and the Grenadines are among the staunch supporters of the Maduro administration in Venezuela.
During the visit to Suriname, the Vincentian delegation toured several indigenous villages, including the Maroon village of Klaaskreek in the district Brokopondo and the Amerindian village of Redi Doti in the district of Para.
Photo: President Desi Bouterse (R) and Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves during a visit to the Klaaskreek Maroon village in Brokopondo. Photo: National Information Institute