We’ve hit the country on Independence Day – 35 years since they said goodbye to Dutch rule. It hasn’t been all (Parbo) beer and skittles since then although with a series of military coups having been the style of governance since.This was pretty well forseen by the locals with half the population fleeing to Holland before that auspicious day in 1975.
Indeed El Presidente taking the salute on the dais outside the White House on the big day in Paramaribo (the capital) has only been ensconced for 3 months. Elected apparently, hopes are high for this dude because he’s the first Indian president and the lot of the original settlers here has never been a happy one. All but wiped out by diseases from their European conquerors they then had to suffer the ignominy of imported slave labour from West Africa , and when that was stopped, an even greater flood of indentured workers from the Dutch possessions in Java. Since independence, none of the unstable governments have done much for the Amerindians and so they’re a bit disenfranchised you could say. And nowadays the biggest problem in the hinterland of both Suriname and Guyana is illegal Brazilian migrants who cross over to look for and illegally mine gold. Gold is what the Guyanas have plenty of – making it even more incongruous that Suriname, that has a large bauxite industry as well, still has so many poor people.
But hey, it’s Independence Day – everybody is happy – enjoy the parade photos.