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District Commissioner Kenya Pansa (centre) with Ambassador Abena Pukua Adompim Busia from Ghana and the Brazilian ambassador Laudemar Gonsalves

PARAMARIBO, Suriname — Ghana’s ambassador to Suriname, Abena Pukua Adompim Busia, recognizes much of her country in the culture and traditions of Suriname during a visit to the village of Compagniekreek in Brokopondo, in what she described as a very “emotional” experience.

Ghana shares many historical and cultural ties with Suriname. A large number of people were captured from what is now Ghana and Benin and sold into slavery in Suriname during the Dutch period. Eventually, a large number of Africans escaped the bondage of slavery and established self governing communities in the interior of the country.

This allowed them to preserve their unique bonds with West Africa and especially with Ghana.

The non-resident ambassador presented her credentials to President Desi Bouterse last week. The diplomat told the president that she will look into the possibility of building stronger relationships with Suriname. She is committed to a deeper cultural exchange between the two countries.

The Ghanaian ambassador was accompanied during her trip to Brokopondo by her Brazilian counterpart, Laudemar Gonsalves. The ambassador indicated that she has waited 15 years for this moment to visit the Maroon communities of Suriname.

Busia said she was very impressed with the beauty of the district and felt at home in Brokopondo. The ambassador is open to further development of the district, especially for tourism and other economic activities, the National Information Institute reported.

The Maroon communities have remained in poverty, where little health care and education and job opportunities exist in their communities. This has led many of them to migrate to the capital city of Paramaribo.

Many see them as “backward, unwilling to leave their ancestral land and lazy”, according to an insensitive narrative on the part of a “tour” guide who works with Bergendal resort during a visit to a maroon community in the interior.

The district commissioner of Brokopondo, Kenya Pansa, was gratified that the ambassador visited the district immediately after she presented her credentials to Bouterse.

Busia is a Ghanaian writer, poet, feminist, lecturer and diplomat. She is a daughter of former Ghana head of state Kofi Abrefa Busia. She is an associate professor of English Literature and of women’s and gender studies at Rutgers University and is currently Ghana’s ambassador to Brazil, Guyana and Suriname. She has lived in the Netherlands, the UK and Mexico.