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People from the Saramaccan villages of Santigron and Bigi Poika in Suriname have sent a written request for an investigation into the issuance of landpermits to the Secretary for Territorial Affairs, Michael Jong-Tjien-Fa.
Although the Saramacca Maroons have lived in Santigron and Bigi Poikasince 1835, they need land permits from the Suriname government to exploit the land for fishing, farming and lumber jacking.
Recently, many of the Saramaccan permits have expired, making it necessary for people to apply for renewals. The problem is that Saramaccans who have applied for new permits are experiencing indefinite delays in the processing of their documents, while non-Maroon people who have applied for the same permits seem to have no problem getting their paperwork processed.
Many Saramaccans now find themselves banned from lands the Saramaccan nation has been using for almost two centuries. In some cases, conflicts between old and new permit holders have become violent.
Secretary for Territorial Affairs Jong-Tjien-Fa has responded rather evasively to media questions regarding the matter. He confirms the delays in the processing of Maroon requests, but states not to know of any particular reason why this should be happening.
Source: de Ware Tijd Online