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Suriname: New leadership of the National Army is not an easy task

The new army command is not an easy task. At the defense organization, Colonel Henri van Axeldongen was appointed acting commander in the President’s Office by President Chan Santokhi yesterday. According to the head of state, who is also commander in chief of the armed forces, the situation today is complex, both within the defense organization and within the country itself. The president mentioned the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the financial and economic crisis and natural disasters, which occur from time to time.

The National Army is expected to be ready to provide solicited and unsolicited support. This constitutional task has now become even more important. The army will have to tune in to this, without losing sight of the protection of Suriname as its core task. President Santokhi asked the new acting commander to work with Defense Minister Krishna Mathoera to also pay attention to the integrity within the military.

Colonel Van Axeldongen takes over the helm from Commander Roy Kartodikromo, who goes on leave and then retires. Van Axeldongen’s new team was completed with the following appointments Lieutenant Colonel Werner Kioe A Sen (Deputy Commander), Lieutenant Colonel Ashok Jagdew (Army Commander), Lieutenant Colonel Franklin Blokland (Marine Commander), Lieutenant Colonel Petrus Wasimin ( Commander Military Police), Lieutenant Colonel Bob Mangal (Chief of Staff) and Lieutenant Colonel Lea Hynes-Parris (Inspector General of the Armed Forces). Lieutenant Colonel Marven Blokland will remain as commander of the Air Force.

Hynes-Parris is the first female Inspector General in the military. It is good for the head of state to have a woman on the team. It is the government’s commitment to get more women in top positions. This does not only look at being a woman, but at the competences. The new leadership, after being appointed by the head of state, was presented to the press a few moments later. This happened during a press moment at the Ministry of Defense, in the presence of the commander in chief.

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