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Nieuw Koffie Kamp protests against upcoming electricity bill

(dWTphoto/Fenny Zandgrond ) Captain Ludwich Wijnerman of Nieuw Koffie Kamp

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


Lake Brokopondo, man-made during Dutch colonial rule in Suriname in the 1960's. It was created to accommodate the hydraulic plant that today supplies the modernized parts of the country with electricity. A total of 28 Maroon villages, containing close to 40.000 people, had to be relocated elsewhere.


The original village of Koffiekamp in 1949, which now lays buried beneath Lake Brokopondo


Housing at the village of Klaaskreek, one of the shelter towns that -like Nieuw Koffie Kamp - was erected in 1964 as part of the forced Maroon migration project.


This entry was posted on August 18, 2009 by in Suriname News (archived 2009-2013) and tagged , , .
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