Appearing on his weekly ‘Public Interest’ programme, Former President David Granger warned against ‘exaggerated’ expectations over recent engagements between Guyana’s President Mohamed Irfaan Ali and Suriname’s President Chandrikapersad Santokhi.

Granger said that it is easy to underestimate the complex character of over five decades of interaction between the two neighbours. Referring to the exchange of official visits by the Presidents of Guyana and Suriname in November 2020 and August 2021, respectively, he said that friendly visits were necessary but not sufficient to transform inter-state relations.

He noted that the two new Presidents brought vastly different experiences to their offices. Santokhi, 62 years old, is a trained Police Officer who, as Commissioner of Police and Minister of Justice, interacted with Guyana’s Clement Rohee as Minister of Home Affairs. Santokhi, nicknamed ‘Sheriff’ by President Dési Bouterse, for his efforts to suppress narco-trafficking and the contraband trade across the Corentyne River which contrasted with the PPP administration’s tolerance for ‘back-tracking’, Granger said.

Surinamese officials and politicians still lament the Guyana Defence Force’s military operation to defend the New River Zone against Surinamese occupation of ‘Camp Tigri’ on Guyana’s territory in August 1969. Additionally, Granger said that the PPP administration’s experiences with the expulsion of the CGX petroleum platform from Guyana’s waters in June 2000 and the occasional seizure and harassment of fishing boats over the years still hold “sober lessons” for diplomats.

Granger advised that a professional foreign service was needed to deal with a neighbour like Suriname and Guyana’s policy should not be based on “wishful thinking”. “Hope,” he said, “is not a strategy.”


  1. Grainger said: Santokhi, 62 years old, is a trained Police Officer
    I say: Grainger is an untrained Army officer.

    Can anyone disprove this??


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