Caribbean Report 03-01-1991


This segment reports on how Suriname prepares for new elections after the country was taken over by a military coup on December 24, 1990. The future of civilian governance in Suriname is highlighted as this has been the second time in ten years that such an act was committed. Dominica’s Prime Minister Eugenia Charles speaks to Hugh Croskill on how this incident is impacting on the CARICOM community. It also highlights the results of the Haiti general elections where Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s party emerged victorious. Finally, Debra Ransome interviews Professor Selwyn Ryan of Trinidad and Tobago to get his views on the political stability of this country’s governance as resignations occur within the ruling National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) government.


Table of Contents

1. Headlines (00:00-00:40)
2. Mr. Jagernath Lachmon, Chairman of the Surinamese National Assembly believes that 100 days is not enough to prepare for fresh elections in Suriname unless the country starts preparations immediately. He also speaks about the future of civilian governance in Suriname and believes that peace will come to the country once the election is held in a free and fair manner. He does not believe that the army will play any role in the next elections (00:41-03:19)
3. Hugh Croskill speaks to Roy Haffcamp, First Secretary of the General Confederation of Surinamese Trade Unions about his views on the military coe in Suriname. Mr. Haffcamp notes that his organization had issued an official statement condemning this act. Despite his organization’s discontent with the government’s way of handling developmental issues in the country, the union was not in support of the radical action taken by the military (03:20-06:08)
4. Hugh Croskill reports that after the military coe in Suriname, the country’s economy could further deteriorate. Already the Dutch government has suspended economic assistance to Suriname and Venezuela’s President Carlos Andres Perez is considering breaking diplomatic ties with Suriname in protest of this action. Mr. Perez also plans to ask the OAS to impose sanctions against the new regime while Mr. Michael Manley, Chairman of CARICOM, considers expelling Suriname as an observer member (06:09-06:55)
5. Eugenia Charles, Prime Minister of Dominica expresses the feelings of CARICOM members about the incident in Suriname. She is quite upset and believes that the image of Caribbean countries has been tarnished as one of its partners changes its method of governance. She wants the international community to know that the Caribbean region does not support this type of governance (06:56-08:32)
6. Michael Norton reports from Port-au-Prince on the National Assembly elections in Haiti in which Father Jean Bernard Aristide won the Presidential elections by a landslide. He shares some information on the various seats won by the respective contending parties and the process by which the President can choose his Prime Minister (08:33-10:56)
7. Hugh Croskill reports that the NAR government of Trinidad and Tobago is facing turbulence with the resignations of two government ministers and the call by another Member of Parliament, Jenson Fox for the Prime Minister ANR Robinson to resign (10:57-11:39)
8. Debra Ramsome interviews Professor Selwyn Ryan, political analyst of Trinidad and Tobago to get his views on the latest developments on the political landscape in this country with the dissatisfaction shown by the electorate and the resignations. Professor Ryan believes that the NAR government will come under pressure from the trade unions that will be making demands for increased wages for civil servants and teachers. He adds that the major political parties are waiting in the wings and the PNM party may emerge victorious with the UNC party becoming the opposition (11:40-14:48)