Het Burgerinitiatief voor Participatie en Goed Bestuur was uitnodigd voor de informatiebijeenkomst met het IMF op 9 juni jongstleden. Ondanks dat het Burgerinitiatief twijfels had bij de mate waarop haar stem (en daarmee die van de maatschappelijke organisaties en individuele burgers die zij vertegenwoordigt) gehoord zou worden, besloot zij toch aanwezig te zijn. In samenwerking met de overige Burgerinitiatief-leden is vooraf een statement opgesteld, welke Rayah Bhattacharji van PROJEKTA heeft opgelezen. Dit statement is hieronder te lezen.
Het Burgerinitiatief wil benadrukken dat zij verre van tevreden is over het gebrek aan transparantie en participatie rondom de overeenkomst met het IMF. Helaas bleek ook tijdens de informatiebijeenkomst dat de afspraken in de IMF-overeenkomst het Burgerinitatief (en de rest van het maatschappelijk middenveld zoals de vakbeweging) weinig handvaten geven om de overheid en het overheidsbeleid te kunnen controleren.
Statement Burgerinitiatief voor Participatie en Goed Bestuur
Informatiesessie IMF, 9 juli 2016
The Citizen’s Initiative for Participation and Good Governance appreciates this opportunity to be informed, even though for us, this is much too late in the process for this information to be of real use.
For we, a broad group of Civil society organizations and individual citizens, advocate for policy that is firmly embedded in principles of human rights, and which adheres to the principles of good governance, in particular participation, transparency, and accountability.
None of these principles were taken into account during the preparation of the IMF agreement or of the more comprehensive ‘Herstel- en Stabilisatieplan’ of the government, both of which will have further strong negative impact on the quality of life of all our citizens, especially the most vulnerable ones. Further negative impact, because since September 2015 our currency has already been devalued by 47% compared to its value in May 2015.
Contrary to the impression that ideas, plans, measures and intended agreements were discussed with a very broad group of stakeholders, and that everyone had the opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way, we as Civil Society groups and as citizens, have only had access to any ideas, drafts and the full scope of the IMF agreement since this Tuesday morning, while the ‘Herstel- en Stabilisatieplan’, has only been made public last week – the same day that our elected representatives in the National Assembly, were given the documents. In addition, no Government Financial Reports were produced in the past 5 years (2010 – 2015), reports which would have enabled us to form our own opinion as to the size and the depth of the developing finance problem in Suriname.
As Civil Society, we have always stated our willingness to contribute in any way to the design, implementation and monitoring of any policy, regardless of who has political power. However, participation must be meaningful, through public and transparent processes and open to a broad cross-section of our community. Information sessions and consultations after the fact, after negotiations are finalized, and policies are presented, do not constitute real, democratic and meaningful participation.
As Civil Society we do want to contribute to discussions and policy, but information needed to make any meaningful contribution – for example when it comes to discussing energy tariffs – is not available or accessible. If we do not have access to the real costs the energy company has, we cannot contribute to discussions about tariff plans and cost prices. This is just one example.
We are aware of the fact that the IMF is not directly accountable to us, and that we, citizens should hold our own government to account, which is what we have been doing from the inception of this Citizen's Initiative. Examples of our work are readily and publicly accessible.
Finally, we would like to know if there is any measure or agreement that will ensure more transparency and participation, and will enable us to do our job in holding duty bearers accountable.