Opposition legislators defend walk out during President address
Opposition legislators have defended their decision to walk out on a speech being delivered by President Desi Bouterse on Monday saying he had not been showing respect to the Parliament in recent years.
Member of the NPS/New Front party, Ruth Wijdenbosch, said she participated in the walkout because it was time a clear message had been sent to Bouterse who has made it a habit of coming to Parliament once a year instead of fulfilling his constitutional duty of giving regular accounts of his administration’s plans.
“The opposition is not a bunch of public enemies. We were chosen by the people. He should come to parliament to discuss with us, and not just to read his Annual Address from a prompter,” Wijdenbosch said, adding “time will tell if our signal reaches him.”
Opposition parliamentarian Radjkoemar Randjietsingh said they were not impressed with Bouterse’s was stepping on the Constitution as well as the norms and values of democracy. He said Bouterse was also the limits of morality. “generalities (VHP/New Front
“The opposition has an obligation to call an end to this, which is why we are sending a clear signal by withdrawing from the President’s umpteenth monologue during the public meeting of September 30,” he added.
In his address, Bouterse defended the policies of his administration and urged politicians to unite for the socio-economic development of the country.
“We have achieved several things that we set out to achieve,” he said, making mention of “affordable homes” being built across the country.
Bouterse said that the government would introduce a National Care System in 2014.
“The Basic Care Insurance that took effect on July 1, 2013 and covers 130,000 people was a precursor of that system,” he said, adding “the insurance package gives access to basic care and is paid by Government for Surinamers in Suriname.
“We chose a system that is not a copy of anything, but is specific to Suriname’s circumstances and will synchronize with the economic development,” he said, adding the intention was to have all eligible nationals in the system by the first quarter of 2014.
Bouterse also spoke of the importance of the country’s membership in the Union of South American States (UNASUR).
“The membership of UNASUR was a historical opportunity for us as a country, after CARICOM, to get involved deeply and definitely in South America and its enormous potential of natural resources. And our contribution to regional and international security should not be understated. We are as strong as our weakest link,” he said.
He said his Government would continue to pay attention to industry and education, with specific roles for young people.
“With about 20 months to go before the 2015 general elections, this government considers it a duty and responsibility to execute a priority programme,” he said.