Compare and Contrast Haiti and Suriname in terms of their political structure, their demography and language
The Republic of Haiti (Ayiti), occupies one third of on the Western side of Hispaniola and The Dominican Republic on the Eastern two thirds. Haiti is approximately 27,750 square kilometers and is located 80km to the east of Cuba. Haiti, known as the “World’s First Black Republic”² has a population of 7, 482, 000 people³. The capital of Haiti is Port-au-Prince and it became an Independent Republic on 1st January, 1804. Haiti was the first independent nation of Latin America and the Caribbean. Haiti was the first republic in the world to be led by an African descent. Haiti is one of two independent nations to speak French as its official language. Suriname, like Haiti is officially called the Republic of Suriname. Suriname is the smallest sovereign state in South America. Suriname however, can be found on the north eastern coast of South America, north of Brazil and east of Guyana. The population of Suriname is approximately 492,829, with an area of 163, 820 square kilometers. The capital of Suriname is Paramaribo. Haiti and Suriname are member states of The Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Haiti became a member in 2002 and Suriname in 1995. These two states have a creole language but Haiti is French creole and Suriname is sranan tongo. The people of Haiti (Haitians) speak French as well as their kweyol. This may have resulted from 1697, when the colony was ceded by France. Suriname, the only Dutch-speaking country in South America has many different dialects but sranan tongo is the most common language which is spoken all over Suriname and used especially in informal settings. Suriname, though located in Central America has no Spanish speaking neighbours. The people of Suriname are called Surinamers.
Suriname is divided into 10 immovable districts which are headed by a district commissioner who is appointed by the President. There are 9 major political parties who contested the 2010 general elections. Suriname adopts a constitutional, democratically represented republic. General elections are held every five years and a president is elected by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly. The president in turn appoints 16 ministers of cabinet. They adopt a proportional representation system. Haiti, unlike Suriname has undergone 32 coups and the only country in the Western Hemisphere to have a successful slave revolution. Haiti is bicameral and adopts a first pass the post system. The head of the state is the president. There are 11 Provinces and each has 3 senators who contest the post. Citizens are only allowed to vote only within their Province for the senate. Ministers are appointed by the senate and at times, this decision is made upon the advice of the President of the state. There are two rounds of voting held in Haiti’s general elections. The first round eliminates one of three contestants and the second round elects a senator. There is also a house of deputies who are also elected. Haiti has been accused of having a corrupt government and throughout the years, France and the United States have intervened in the political aspect of Haiti.
The demographics of Haiti and Suriname differ in many different aspects. Suriname was first ruled by the British who were succeeded by the Dutch. Suriname has since then adopted a Dutch education system. The earliest inhabitants of Suriname were said to be the Kalinas. The population of Suriname consists of mixed ethnicities. The original inhabitants of Suriname, the Amerindians are 3.7% of that with the largest group being the Hindustani with a 37% majority. The second largest group are the Surinamese Creoles with 31%. These creoles are the descendants of West African slaves and Dutch. The minority includes Chinese, Javanese and Maroons. Many Surinamese migrated to the Netherlands and the majority of the inhabitants occupy the capital, Paramaribo which is...
Bibliography: VER BERKOMES, Ryan. 2008.Caribbean Islands. Lonely Planet
BUSS, Terry F. 2008 Haiti in the balance. Washington DC. Brookings Institution Press
SEPINWALL, Alyssa G. 2013. Haitian History New perspectives. London. Taylor & Francis group.
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