Suriname Country Report
Dési Bouterse, Suriname's president since 2010, previously led two coups and ruled as a military dictator from 1980–87. A verdict in his trial by a military court for the alleged murder of 15 opposition activists in 1982 is expected in first half of 2019, for which he has accepted political responsibility but not personal involvement. 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. There is occasional civil unrest against the government's implementation of austerity measures to address falling government revenues resulting from low commodity prices.
The operational environment is unlikely to improve substantially in the next year. The main frustrations relate to bureaucratic delays, although there has been progress to speed up applications for obtaining operating licenses. In recent years several political leaders have been implicated in corruption scandals; President Dési Bouterse and his son Dino have separately been convicted for drug trafficking abroad, which they deny. Labour unrest is not a regular threat to the private sector although the mining industry is affected occasionally. Fissures in the union movement mean strikes and protests are likely to rise in the next year, chiefly affecting the public sector, primarily transport, education, and healthcare.
Terrorism risks are likely to remain low in 2019. 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 and its former leader, Ronnie Brunswijk, has become an opposition politician. Drug traffickers operate in Suriname, using the country as a waypoint between Colombia and Europe. Drug-related violence is limited and unlikely to involve terrorist acts against civilians or the state within the one-year outlook.
The risk of civil interstate war in Suriname is low for the next six months, despite unresolved border disputes with French Guiana and Guyana. The capacity of the Guyanese and Surinamese armed forces is minimal. Security issues with French Guiana are mainly limited to the presence of Surinamese illegal miners in the French territory. 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.
The risk of protests is declining but likely to remain elevated in 2018 and 2019. In April 2017, around 10,000 people participated in peaceful protests over austerity measures, in which the involvement of trade unions and civil servants increased disruption levels. However, protests have been less intense in 2018 despite ongoing austerity measures. 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 substantially.
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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