The President of Republic of Surinam, His Excellency Chandrikapersad Santokhi, told a gathering of Surinamese and Guyanese diasporas in New York to work collaboratively to promote trade and business opportunities between the two South American developing nations. The President made the remark in an address to a gathering of Surinamese and Guyanese at a reception held in his honor on Long Island on the evening of September 20. The reception was organized by the VHP New York branch to recognize and salute the President for his extraordinary leadership. The VHP is the largest party of the ruling alliance in Surinam.
Shri Santokhi, leader of VHP, was elected President of Surinam on July13, 2020. He attended President Irfaan Ali’s inauguration and visited Guyana twice since becoming President. President Ali reciprocated earlier this year with a visit to Paramaribo, and Vice President Jagdeo visited Surinam earlier this month.
At the Long Island reception, President Santokhi was honored for his visionary leadership with a plaque from the diaspora. He thanked the Diaspora for the assistance that was provided that helped made the election victory possible last year. He notes that the diaspora selection Holland and New York contributed significantly in the election. He praised the work of the diaspora in promoting relations between America and Suriname. Santokhi inherited a broken, near bankrupt economy that has turned around under his leadership over the last year. The country had been in financial crisis during the previous administration. But the economy has been growing positively over the last year in spite of Covid challenges.
The President spoke about his government’s achievements and policies that have been promoting development. He praised the diaspora, noting it is pivotal for the sustainability of the transformation of Surinam. He said Surinam is open for business and invites the diaspora to return and invest in their homeland.
The President thanked the hosts and VHP New York for hosting this very warm reception and for honoring him. Accompanying the President was his Foreign Minister Mr Albert Ramdin, former deputy Secretary General of the OAS, and members of his delegation. Minister Ramdin praised the friendship between Guyanese and Surinamese, saying it augurs well for investment and cooperative development of both neighbors.
In attendance at the reception were several Guyanese community leaders and business persons. The President indicated that he was pleased with the very warm reception displayed by the Surname and Guyanese diaspora in New York. He said he is happy that that the Surinamese and Guyanese diasporas are collaborating on championing their countries interest and on investment opportunities in both countries as well as in America. He said his government is interested in enhancing relations and promoting business alliance between the two South American neighbors. He notes that many Guyanese have settled in Suriname and have contributed significantly to the country’s development. Surinamese have also invested in Guyana. He pointed out that Suriname can’t develop alone and that both countries must together to experience development. Together, both countries represent a much bigger market than one by itself.
Mr. Anand Jagessar, one of the chief organizers of the reception, said President Santokhi is working hard to remove barriers so that doing business becomes more attractive. He said the government has removed visa requirements to Suriname born citizens as well as those who have attained other nationalities and their siblings. This is another barrier removed that will encourage more visitors to Suriname that will contribute to development and growth.
Mr Jagessar, who hosted the reception, thanked the President for taking time out of his very busy schedule to meet with the VHP NY Support group and members of the diaspora. He said the President has inspired Surinamese abroad and domestically to work for the betterment of their homeland. He showered accolades on the VHP leader. He praised the President for “his vision thru and policies, working towards the betterment of the next generations instead of working with populist policies focused on the next election. This is what differentiates him from his predecessors and makes him the leader we all had wished for. His willingness to listen to people and to take advise and criticism and put that to good use are among his strengths. Many of us have seen in him aman of integrity and great character that will translate into good things to come for our nation”.
Me Jagessar also noted that the president took over a completely bankrupt country in which the previous government asked the president to find money to pay for the government employees. “The president was successful because the local banks have had complete faith in him and his ability to right the economic ship”, said Mr Jagessar.
Others also addressed the gathering, publicly thanking the President for his efforts to bring about positive change in their homeland.