Bishop Karel Choennie of Paramaribo asserted that citizens should count their blessings and ask themselves how they can make the self-sacrificing love come true in the country.
Speaking on the Feast of Christ the King (November 21) as Suriname prepared to celebrate its 46th anniversary of Independence on November 25, Bishop Choennie said, “Count the blessings one by one and don’t forget any. Let us be thankful that we became independent without too much bloodshed. Let us be thankful that Lachmon and Arron (Surinamese politicians) were able to embrace each other and let us see in it a task and a promise to continue working on this embrace, which must not fall into a stranglehold but must always remain a symbol of a self-sacrificing love through space for the create others.”
The Bishop reminded that Suriname is a God-blessed fertile land with abundant water, minerals, and a unique biodiversity. He commented that at the beginning of independence, the country had more than three billion guilders to promote independence.
At that time, he said, the Church warned against large-scale projects that would only benefit the wealthy multinationals.
Bishop Choennie observed that the natural resources that should be a source of blessings to the third world countries have fallen into a “curse” because the country has been reduced to suppliers of raw materials unable to buy the finished products without building up huge debts with the industrialised countries.
“We are sacrificing our resources, destroying our environment, sacrificing workers’ health to the ruthless wealthy powers,” he said.
He underscored, “Now that after the oil finds off our coast, we dream of money that will flow like water. I beg you that we learn from history….If the riches will flow again to the multinationals and a prevailing elite club of Surinamese, then the natural resources will be a curse for us…. practice shows that the drop of wealth that eventually falls into the hands of the poor is no longer enough to pay the debts and rent arrears of the poor.”
Bishop Choennie emphasised that the politicians and especially the National Assembly, but equally the general population, should think about how they can be happy with the little they have instead of dreaming of a Dubai.
“Let us be happily poor by sharing what little and living peacefully with each other. Let us cherish our freedom because money cannot buy freedom,” Bishop Choennie said.
(Translated and adapted from omhoog.org)