Suriname Rolls Out Red Carpet for Opening Ceremony in Paramaribo

29 Oct 2010 | Cpl. Alicia R. Giron

Continuing Promise Marines, sailors and Surinamese distinguished visitors gathered at a medical site in Paramaribo, Suriname, Oct. 29, to initiate the 10-day humanitarian civic assistance mission in support of Continuing Promise 2010 – Partnership of the Americas.

The ceremony took place at Elsje Finck Sanichar College in Paramaribo, where Continuing Promise’s medical and dental team is providing aid to Surinamese citizens. While citizens were waiting to receive medical attention, The New Harmony Air Force Band of Flight started the ceremony by playing the Surinamese and U.S. national anthems.

Robert Ameralli, vice president of Suriname; John R. Nay, U.S. Ambassador to Suriname; IIsle Kohinur, District Commissioner of Paramaribo; Celsius Waterburg, Minister of Health; Lamure Latour, Minister of Defense; and Navy Capt. Thomas M. Negus, commodore of CP10, addressed the audience during the ceremony in expressing their gratitude of the CP10 and Suriname partnership.

“The United States and Suriname have a long-standing close relationship – much longer than most people realize,” said Ambassador Nay. “Earlier this year we celebrated 220 years of ties between the U.S. and Suriname. Now, 220 years after the United States and Suriname first established consular ties, we are here together to celebrate again our joint efforts to improve the lives of the people from both our countries.”

For 10 days, Continuing Promise personnel will provide medical, dental, veterinary, engineering, and community relations services to Surinamese citizens in the Paramaribo region. Suriname marks the last country for CP10 to provide humanitarian assistance.

“I cannot tell you how excited we are to bring Continuing Promise back to Suriname and Paramaribo this year. Continuing Promise is an equal partner mission; it serves as an annual demonstration about our commitment to our neighbors,” said Negus. “Our sweat and effort will be our testimony to the strength of our conviction to work in partnership in the spirit of our common humanity with the ideal of building a better view.”

As doctors and dentists continue to assist people of Suriname, Marines of the Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force CP10 will conduct a subject-matter expert exchange with the Surinamese Army. This is the first time U.S. Marines and Surinamese Army encountered a joint training evolution. The exchanges are intended to bolster relations and benefit both countries through mutual lessons in expertise. The SMEE will take place on a Surinamese Army base and is expected to include humanitarian aid and disaster-relief skills, leadership techniques and jungle survival.

“When we are able to combine these special projects and continuing all the efforts that are possible in the relation between Suriname and the United States, we are able to continue learning what it is we do best,” said Suriname Vice President Ameralli.

The CP10 team is expected to return to the United States in mid-November. Suriname is the eighth country visited by CP10 followed by Haiti, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama and Guyana.