Posted on | mei 3, 2012 | No Comments
How can one write fair and balanced, illuminating all sides of a story, an issue, an event? It is easy to place the burden of some unfortunate event on one shoulder, specifically when dealing with politics. Indeed, some political leaders are abject, sly, disloyal and without scrupulous but who gave them the opportunity to become the dreadful leaders they are? The voters at the ballots or the political and social elites, on whose watch the victory could occur? In the Netherlands, the populist PVV was rudely side-stepped and shoved from the vortex of power, simply because parliament decided to act, to take matters into their own hands. A parliamentary majority broadly supported by the public, ended a seven weak long deadlock by drumming up a series of austerity measures to meet the EU standard of the 3% budgetary deficit.
Contrasting is the amnesty law in Suriname, rather the fact that the coalition felt that they could shove such a regulation down the throat of the Surinamese people. The issue is that they COULD, and they DID, because they knew they could bank on the fact that the opposition lacked leverage to challenge the incumbency.
The Limitations of the Surinamese Legislature
President Bouterse commanded, coerced and threatened and everybody jumped in line. Discussion and protests started only after the fact. But can one in all fairness blame the Bouterse administration for initiating this amnesty law? The answer is no, because the people, the opposition all stood and watched, and did nothing, for long periods of time. There were ample opportunities to maintain the constitution, to uphold that convicted criminals cannot run for office, to take action against corruption, to restore fate in the state and its institutions.
Comparing Suriname to the Netherlands is in a sense not fair, but a closer look at the region teaches us Latin America and many nations in the Caribbean are well on their way, working to strengthening the complementary arenas that sustain democracy, devoting ample time to human rights and empowerment of the people. There are several fallacies that I deem impeding in the case of Suriname, such as the absence of new political leaders to forge a new political order. Corollary new political talents cannot emerge because parties do not devote ample time to bring in and coaching new political talent to take over the position of the old nomenclature. The typical Surinamese politician today is not old, but lacking experience and education to do a proper job. Also, too many people rely on politics to earn a living, a reality that makes politicians prone for corruption and bribery. Indeed, the presence of strong broad-based political parties is crucial in the case of Suriname, but in the current political climate, any transformation, albeit slight, in the political arena is highly unlikely.
Let me return to my earlier argumentation that the coalition simply acquiesced with the demand from the president to push the amnesty law through the legislature. It is plausible that if politicians could rely on a more solid source of income, than another more balanced decision would have been made. In other words the amnesty law could materialize because of the innate weakness of the system, the fact that politicians lack the luxury to make fair and balanced choices.
Also problematic is that the younger generations lack courage to challenge the nomenclature. They constantly demand that the old leaders take responsibility, instead of aiming for a massive overhaul of the political arena, devoid of ethnic politics, populism, nepotism and corruption. I think that demography, rather the gap in age, between the younger generation (15-35) and older generation (55- up) lies at the heart of the problem. The fact that the segment of the population belonging to the Generation X (35-54) is under-represented sits at the heart of the problem, because in their absence, experiences and political tradition cannot be past on from one generation on to the next, and so forth.
A summation of the current situation brings several fallacies to light:
1. the weakness of the political parties which is in and out of itself very problematic;
2. Uneven population growth very young and graying, which makes competition in the political arena, almost impossible
3. The dependency of MP’s due to the economy (job) and a political culture based on nepotism, ethnic headcount and ethnic politics
Conclusion: Fairness and Balance
In the case of conflict, a fair and balanced overview of the situation is the most effective way of taking action. Sufficit is in this case, to underscore that previous government underestimated the burning ambition of Desi Bouterse, they failed to gather more information on the man that has been determining Surinamese politics for three decades now. Mr Bouterse by the same token, counts on disenfranchised and urban poor for support. His fallacy is that he should know by now that money cannot buy support, only economic progress can. The old nomenclature banks on the youth to fight their battles for them, just like the past when the younger generation took to the street to send governments home. Time and time again, the old political order took over again, leaving the youth stranded in the cold. Mr Bouterse banks on the absence of international observers and the goodwill of the OAS, to set up a Trued and Reconciliation Committee to tranquilize his conscience. He should know by now, that there is more to international relations than shaking hands at the United Nations Plenary meetings.
AUTHOR: Natascha Adama
E-MAIL: nataliapestova23 [@] yahoo.com