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Bouterse fires his Finance Minister Adelien Wijnerman

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PARAMARIBO– Suriname's President Desi Bouterse fired his Finance Minister Adelien Wijnerman on Wednesday. “This is part of the Reconstruction of Financial Management … and the seriousness with which Government intends to bring improvement to this matter,” the President’s Cabinet said in a press release.

 

Wijnerman, an economist and career civil servant who before served as Permanent secretary at the Finance Ministry is the umpteenth Minister in the Bouterse cabinet to be sacked.

Wijnerman was appointed in June 2011 shortly after Bouterse’s first Finance Minister Wonnie Boedhoe resigned. The release said Wijnerman’s dismissal “is necessary” because of the slow progress achieved in clearing Government’s payment arrears; because of administrative and financial vagueness and because there is no effective communication with service providers and other stakeholders.

It said Government intends to get a complete overview of the country’s financial state of affairs as soon as possible. “The improvement of the Government’s discipline with making payments is an important priority to this Government. To look into this, the ‘Committee to Determine the State of Affairs of the Nation’s Finances’ will be installed soon,” the release said.

Rumors that the Finance Minister was next to be fired from the cabinet have been circling since President Bouterse’s September 29th annual address in Parliament, in which he promised improvements in several matters including the country’s financial affairs.

Wijnerman had lost quite some clout since last June when she suddenly reeled in fellow Ministers who she said were spending too much; this had resulted in several service providers not getting paid and ongoing projects getting stalled. Her actions put her at odds with her colleagues. But up to last week the President’s Spokesperson Cliff Limburg was denying that it was enough for her to be axed. Limburg then only admitted that Bouterse wanted her to address several “burning issues”, but It now seems the President was beyond the point of talking.

Bouterse has been known to quickly replace Ministers who lost his favor; since his Government was sworn in he has let at least ten Ministers go. His previous round of dismissals saw the departure of former Ministers Ramon Abrahams (Public Works), Ginmardo Kromosoeto (Zoning) and Shirley Sitaldien (Education). Abrahams has since sued a publication that claimed he got the boot because he had been corrupt.