Suriname Country Report
Dési Bouterse, Suriname's president since 2010, had previously led two coups, ruled as a military dictator from 1980–87, and was convicted in absentia by the Netherlands for drug trafficking. A verdict in his trial by a military court for the alleged murder of 15 opposition activists in 1982 is expected in the fourth quarter 2018. Prosecutors have recommended he face 20 years in jail. The incumbent secured a second term in office after his National Democratic Party (Nationale Democratische Partij: NDP) won elections in May 2015, gaining a majority for the first time since democracy was restored. The government is broadly stable, but faces occasional civil unrest as the government implements austerity measures address falling government revenues resulting from low commodityprices.
The operational environment is unlikely to improve substantially in 2018. The main frustrations relate to bureaucratic delays, although there has been progress to speed up applications for obtaining operating licences. Corruption is another substantial problem. In recent years several political leaders have been implicated in corruption scandals and current President Dési Bouterse and his son Dino have separately been convicted for drug trafficking abroad. Labour unrest is not a regular threat to the private sector but the mining industry is affected occasionally. Fissures in the union movement mean strikes and protests are likely to rise through 2018, chiefly affecting the public sector, chiefly transport, education, and healthcare.
The risk of terrorism will remain low in Suriname in 2018.Two Dutch-Surinamese were arrested in July 2017 accused of plotting an attack on the American embassy in Paramaribo. Their trial continues and no evidence has emerged of a wider threat. The Jungle Commando, a rebel group active in the 1980–90s, has disbanded. Its former leader, Ronnie Brunswijk, is now an opposition politician. Drug traffickers operate in Suriname, using the country as a waypoint between Colombia and Europe. However drug-related violence is limited and is unlikely to involve terrorist acts against civilians or the state within the one-year outlook.
The risk of civil interstate war in Suriname is likely to remain low in 2018, despite unresolved border disputes with Guyana and French Guyana. The capacity of the Surinamese and Guyanese armed forces is minimal. Security issues with French Guiana are mainly limited to the presence of Surinamese illegal miners in the French territory. Although protests against the government are likely to rise in 2018, the risk of a return to civil war is low. Illegal miners in the interior of the country pose the greatest threat to the country's security forces.
Civil unrest risks will remain low compared to regional standards. In April 2017, around 10,000 people participated in protests against a fuel price increase, one of several unpopular austerity measures.. Although peaceful, the involvement of trade unions and civil servants has increased levels of disruption. Further economy-related protests in 2018 are likely, posing property damage risks. Demands for access to land and employment are likely to provoke occasional protests involving roadblocks in the mining sector, although a deal between IamGold and local small-scale miners in November 2017 means the risk of roadblocks near the IamGold concession has diminished significantly.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission and over one year of age.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Yellow Fever: A vaccine is available for children over the age of one year.
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Travelers should note that the country's two rainy seasons occur from May to August and from November to February, during which the risk of flooding is high, particularly in the north and center of the country, including in the capital. Surinamese officials are poorly equipped to deal with flood-related emergencies and therefore nonessential travel to the interior of the country is not recommended during those periods. Heavy rains can also disrupt telecommunications.
Transportation (road) infrastructure remains largely underdeveloped throughout the country and road accident rates are high. In the event of a car accident, drivers by law must remain with their cars (unmoved) until the police arrive. This can result in major traffic congestion.
For safety reasons, public transportation (e.g. minibuses) should be avoided, particularly outside the capital. In cities it is best to use licensed taxi companies.
Suriname's Blue Wing Airlines has been banned from operating in European Union airspace due to poor safety standards. Concerns regarding the safety standards of the airline INSEL Air, which is based out of Curacao and serves Paramaribo-Zanderij International Airport (PBM), have also been raised.
Suriname has a humid tropical climate. There are two rainy seasons: the short rainy season lasts from November until February and the long rainy season from April until August. It is generally hotter and more humid inland than along the coast. Temperatures are constant throughout the year.
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