As an indication of how tough economic conditions are in Suriname, the Caribbean Community nation has so defaulted in annual payment contributions to the United Nations that its voting rights have been suspended until it could at least transfer a part of the outstanding fees.
The foreign ministry said this week that about $800,000 are outstanding to the world body but it would accept a payment plan beginning with a deposit of $117,000 in the coming days so its voting rights can be restored.
“Suriname is well aware of the importance of its membership at the United Nations and the opportunities that this specialized organizations can offer in the areas of technical assistance and development cooperation”, the ministry said as it announced details of the development.
Other defaulting nations in a similar position to Suriname include the Caribbean Community nation of Dominica which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in September and Grenada along with Equatorial Guinea, Venezuela, The Central African Republic, Libya and Yemen.
The main opposition VHP Hindustani Party said Surinamese should be ashamed that the UN has been forced to suspend the country’s voting rights. It said annual payments were not that large so it was at a loss to determine why such an embarrassing situation has developed said Leader Chan Santokhi.
“I wonder where the hundreds of millions that have been loaned have been spent? Have we sunk so deeply into the swamp that this government cannot even meet a relatively low annual contribution amount, “he said, ashamed that Suriname is now being lumped in a group with war torn nations like Libya and Yemen.
He urged the parliament to summon President Desi Bouterse to explain what exactly has happened and what plans are being pared to make the down payment and have the country’s voting rights restored.
The country has serious foreign exchange problems owing largely to previous years of low prices for gold, bauxite, rice and oil, its principal exports and foreign exchange earners.