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Regional pollster to appear in Suriname Court

February 3rd, 2022

The Trinidad-based regional political analyst, Derek Ramsamooj is to appear in a Suriname Court “in the coming days” after being detained in the Dutch-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country for more than 500 days, CARICOM Chairman Prime Minister John Briceno has confirmed.

Briceno, speaking at the news conference on Wednesday night, following the two-day CARICOM Inter-Sessional Summit, said that he had discussed the matter with the Suriname President Chandrikapersad “Chan” Santokhi, who takes over the chairmanship of the regional integration movement in July.

“Yes I did raise it with President Santokhi and he (Santokhi) has been in touch with his Attorney General and they are saying now that the case will go to court in the next coming days, 12 or so days from now. So it will be in court,” Briceno said.

Derek Ramsamooj

Asked whether Ramsamooj, 60, who had been in custody since October 6, 2020 and released on December 22 that year had been charged, Prime Minister Briceno responded by saying “yes he has been charged, the President is telling me, yes, he has been charged”.

In December 2020, Ramsamooj, a “diabetic”, who had threatened to go on a hunger strike after claiming that the authorities had given him no indication as to why he had been detained, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that while he had been released from custody, he was not granted permission to leave the Dutch-speaking CARICOM country.

“They have my computers, phone and passport,” he said, adding that his priority now was to ensure that he gets back to health.”

He said then he was he was looking forward to a trial, as this would indicate what were the reasons behind his detention.

Ramsamooj, who has worked as a political analyst in the Caribbean including Jamaica, Guyana, Grenada, Suriname, St Lucia and St Kitts-Nevis, was told by Suriname police on October 6, 2020 that they wanted a statement or evidence to support an inquiry into operations at the Surinamese Post Savings Bank (SPSB).

According to the accusations by the Suriname police, Ramsamooj conducted for the SBSP at their request, existing customer and potential customer surveys as well bank employee surveys in addition to conducting two country risk assessments of Suriname in his capacity as a political analysts and researcher. The activities were paid for by the financial institution.

The authorities are also probing Ramsmooj, who developed and worked alongside strategic partners in Suriname to create and manage the global high forest low deforestation conference (HFLD conference) at the request of Suriname in February 2019.

In a January 13 letter sent to the Trinidad and Tobago Foreign and CARICOM Affairs Minister Dr. Amery Browne, Ramsamooj’s wife, Camille, said her husband was being “denied freedom of movement within CARICOM by the Government of Suriname.

“On December 22, 2020 he was released from the prison without any documentation regarding the reason for his release. He was told it was due to his medical conditions. He suffers from advanced diabetes and has a history of cardiovascular problems. Suriname police continued pursuing investigations for three more months”.

“For 14 months we have been supporting Derek from his would-be retirement savings. He has been renting a small apartment, paying legal fees, and paying for medical care and diagnostic procedures. He has again formally requested the return of his passports so that he can receive overdue treatment by his cardiologist in the UK, and diabetic care in Trinidad, between hearing dates. The judge in the case has requested an updated medical report in order to consider this request. The medical file was completed a few days ago, in the first week of January, following a fresh round of blood tests and medical exams.”

She told the Trinidad and Tobago Foreign and CARICOM Affairs Minister that her husband’s next court appearance was scheduled for January 19, 2022, “at which time he is hopeful for the release of his passports which will allow him the freedom to get the needed medical follow-ups”.

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