Brigadier General Deborah Bartunek of the South Dakota National Guard (SDNG) met last week with Defense Secretary Krishna Mathoera and Army Commander Colonel Werner Kioe A Sen to further solidify relationships between the SDNG and the Department of Defense. The 17-year-old state cooperation program was one of the topics that the officials reviewed, along with new and ongoing projects. Along with cooperative military exercises, South Dakota and Suriname also collaborate on humanitarian projects. In the last two years, at least six schools have undergone renovations.
Renovating the OS Blauwgrond, OS Marinberg, and OS Brokopondo cost US$90,000 in April of this year. Additionally, school supplies have been donated. In the near future, similar undertakings will be undertaken once more.
Another significant aspect of this cooperation is the Women Peace and Security (WPS) initiative. In the SDNG, Bartunek is the first female to hold the position of Brigadier General. Therefore, the official serves as a role model for Surinamese women serving in the National Army, claims Minister Mathura.
Colonel Jerry Slijngard, the NCCR coordinator, and Colonel Justus Hew A Kee, the IDO’s commander, also had separate conversations with Brigadier General Bartunek.