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Suriname: VIDS counts on goodwill of native parliamentarians

Theo Jubitana, chairman of the Association of Indigenous Village Heads in Suriname (Vids), has a heavy head on whether the interests of the natives will be sufficiently represented in the National Assembly. His concern is motivated by the poor representation of his target audience: Iona Edwards (Sipaliwini), Jennifer Vreedzaam (Para) and Claudie Sabajo (Marowijne), all from the NDP.

Given that this party ends up in the opposition banks, Jubitana wonders what the NDP can do from the opposition. Incidentally, he doesn’t think it would make much difference if there were representatives in the coalition. “After all, experience shows that in recent years indigenous people have been in the coalition, but they have not ardently defended the interests of the indigenous peoples.”

Jubitana, who herself is chairman of the Amazon Party Suriname (APS), has always advocated that indigenous people end up in parliament through their own party. He believes that there are restrictions if this is done through a non-native party, because party discipline must be taken into account. APS participated in the elections in collaboration with PRO, but both came out of the battle empty-handed.

Still, he gives the elected MPs the benefit of the doubt. “It is also up to them if they are of good will and are not stopped by their party.” The Vids leader expects that the assembly members will regularly consult with representatives and village administrations of indigenous people, which he believes were missing from the outgoing parliament.

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