a civil society alliance for combatting chronic disease in the caribbean

Healthy Caribbean Coalition - Urges its members to help Suriname counter tobacco industry efforts in parliament

<< back to News index

Dear Members of the HCC,

Please lend your support to the Healthy Caribbean Coalition in our efforts to assist the Government of Suriname in the passage of effective No Tobacco legislation and regulations.

On January 17th, 3 hours before the Suriname Parliament was to review the Ministry of Health's comprehensive anti-smoking draft legislation (calling for the implementation of 100% smoke free environment in all public places and workplaces and the implementation of comprehensive tobacco advertising bans), a large law firm, supported by the Tobacco Industry, submitted a counter draft. This amended version of the tobacco law includes revisions which equate to partial smoke-free and partial advertising bans, both of which have been demonstrated to be wholly ineffective. If the amended legislation is passed, this will significantly cripple the tobacco control movement in Suriname.

The activities of tobacco companies are well known; undermining and derailing the activities of tobacco control stalwarts and Governments willing to protect the health of their citizens. The HCC recognizes the collective power of civil society and we urge our membership to rally in support of Suriname. We have a long history of helping ourselves in the Caribbean and this must be no exception against the background of increasing regional tension between anti-tobacco movements and an insidious tobacco industry. Let us stand up against the self-serving, profit-driven and reckless behaviour of the tobacco industry and forge ahead with strong, enforceable tobacco control laws.

Your urgent action would be appreciated. Parliament did not start discussion of the law yesterday; but it will likely take place on Monday January 21st. You can assist by getting your organization to write a letter of support for comprehensive legislation and/or the issuing of a press release from your organisation. Please send to Dr. Marthelisse Eersel, Director of Health Services, Suriname, at vogezdir@gmail.com requesting her to action on behalf of your organization. For reference please see attached: HCC Press Release recently circulated; and an article in Suriname press (http://www.dwtonline.com/de-ware-tijd/2013/01/17/casinos-protest-anti-smoking-law/). We look forward to your actions.