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Captain Ludwich Wijnerman of Nieuw Koffie Kamp has informed the Suriname government that his town will not pay for the supply of electrical energy.
The dignitary argues that his people have paid their dues to Suriname society long ago: by sacrificing their native villages in 1964 to make room for Lake Brokopondo, an artificial lake that provides parts of Suriname with hydraulic energy.
Nieuw Koffie Kamp is one of several Saramaccan villages that, as of lately, have been told by the Suriname government to prepare to start paying for electricity. The government claims that the current energy supply to the villages – which comprises a maximum of six hours per day for each village, but is delivered for free – can only be improved and expanded if the Maroons will share in the costs. ,,No”, says Wijnerman. ,,We will never, ever pay”.
Wijnerman’s stance on the issue, however, is not supported by all Saramaccans. Among the Saramacca nation, there are those who agree with the government; people who dislike the current payment waiver, because, as they say, ‘it makes Maroons seem like beggars’.
Similarly, government officials are also divided on the matter. Says senator Caprino Alendy of the political party BEP: ,,I understand the captain’s motivation. Our society is indeed indebted to these migrant Maroons. Nevertheless, the question still remains. How will we finance improvements to their energy supply? I suggest the government conducts a thorough study to find creative answers”.
Source: de Ware Tijd Online