Ronnie Brunswijk

Ronnie Brunswijk
Ronnie Brunswijk ingezworen.png
Brunswijk during his inauguration as Vice President of Suriname, 2020
8th Vice President of Suriname
Assumed office
16 July 2020
President Chan Santokhi
Preceded by Ashwin Adhin
Chairmen of the National Assembly of Suriname
In office
29 June 2020 – 14 July 2020
Preceded by Jennifer Simons
Succeeded by Marinus Bee
Member of the National Assembly
Assumed office
Constituency Marowijne District
Personal details
Born (1961-03-07) 7 March 1961 (age 60)
Moiwana, Suriname[1]
Nationality Surinamese
Political party General Liberation and Development Party
Beatrix Esajas
Children Damian, Elton, Pascal,[3] and Yoni
Relatives Clyde and Steven (nephew)
Website The National Assembly

Association football career
Position(s) Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Inter Moengotapoe (captain)
Number 61
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1987–2011 Inter Moengotapoe
2021– Inter Moengotapoe
Teams managed
2002–2011 Inter Moengotapoe (player-owner)
2011–2021 Inter Moengotapoe (owner)
2021– Inter Moengotapoe (player-owner)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Ronnie Brunswijk (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈrɔni ˈbrʏnsʋɛik]; born 7 March 1961) is a Surinamese politician, businessman, footballer, former rebel leader, and the current Vice President of Suriname. Brunswijk served in the early 1980s as the personal bodyguard of Dési Bouterse, who overthrew the government in 1980 in a military coup. Brunswijk was discharged after asking for a raise, and denied back pay.[2] In 1985, Brunswijk formed the Surinamese Liberation Army, better known as the Jungle Commando.

Brunswijk was seeking to gain recognition and rights for the Maroon minority of the interior, descendants of runaway African slaves who had established independent[4] communities in the 17th and 18th centuries. In addition, he wanted "to free Suriname from the military dictatorship."[1] His forces fought against the national military under Bouterse in a civil war called the Surinamese Interior War. The civil war continued from 1986 to 1992, resulting in hundreds of deaths and more than 10,000 refugees in French Guiana,[5] and disruption of important bauxite mining industries.[6] A peace treaty was signed in 1992.[7]

Brunswijk has remained active in politics, serving as chair of the General Liberation and Development Party (Algemene Bevrijdings- en Ontwikkelingspartij, ABOP), and as a representative in the National Assembly. In addition he is a player/owner of Marowijne football club Inter Moengotapoe. On 29 June 2020, Brunswijk became Chairperson of the National Assembly of Suriname.[8] On 13 July, Brunswijk was elected vice-president by acclamation in an uncontested election.[9] He was inaugurated on 16 July.[10]


Ronnie Brunswijk joined the Suriname National Army at the age of 18. He was considered a good soldier, and was sent to Cuba for commando training. After finishing his training, he was appointed as a personal bodyguard of Desi Bouterse.[11] During a state visit to Nickerie a gunshot was fired. Brunswijk immediately rushed forward to protect the President. Later it was discovered that a soldier in the honorary guard had fired his weapon by accident.[2] In 1984, Brunswijk asked for a raise, but was discharged instead on 16 April,[12][13] and refused back pay by Major Paul Bhagwandas.[13][2]

The Surinamese Interior War started in Stolkertsijver on 22 July 1986 at around 03:00. 12 soldiers guarding the checkpoint were captured by the Jungle Commando headed by Brunswijk.[14] In 1986, Brunswijk was sentenced in absentia for a bank robbery in Moengo on 26 April. Said bank robbery, a non-violent offence, earned Ronnie Brunswijk the title "Robin Hood of Suriname" due to his liberation of stolen funds from government held institutions that were returned to the people.[12] During the war, the Jungle Commando received arms and funding from the Netherlands,[13][15] and Dutch Colonel Bas van Tussenbroek was moved to French Guiana to transfer funds,[16] and serve as military advisor.[15]

Moiwana massacre

On 29 November 1986, the Surinamese army took revenge by attacking Brunswijk's birth village of Moiwana, where they murdered at least 39 villagers, mostly women and children. They burned down Brunswijk's house and destroyed the village.[17] More than 100 refugees fled across the border to French Guiana, which became a destination for other refugees as the war wore on.[18] The Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered the government to pay millions of dollars (US) in compensation to the 130 survivors of the village attack.[19]

Post-war activities

Brunswijk in 2011

The government and Brunswijk negotiated a ceasefire on 21 July 1989 in Kourou[20] that included conversion of the Jungle Commando to a regular part of the Surinamese Army, with responsibility for patrolling their traditional interior territory.[21] The government also promised jobs for Maroons in gold prospecting and forestry, as they were isolated from many developing industries. On 8 August 1992, a final peace treaty was signed.[7]

The Netherlands prosecuted both Brunswijk and Bouterse in absentia for drug trafficking, and both men were convicted. Brunswijk was convicted in absentia in the Netherlands to eight years imprisonment for cocaine smuggling by a Dutch court in Haarlem despite numerous witnesses contesting the claims. Brunswijk appealed the ruling pursuant to insufficient evidence.[22] In 2000, he was convicted to six years on appeal.[23] There is as of July 2020, an Interpol arrest warrant against him.[24]

Brunswijk is chairman of the Surinamese political party General Liberation and Development Party (Algemene Bevrijdings- en Ontwikkelingspartij, ABOP).[25]

In December 2007, Brunswijk and Paul Somohardjo beat up Rashied Doekhi, a member of Desi Bouterse's party, in the Surinamese parliament after Doekhi assaulted Brunswijk and Somohardjo, then chair of the Surinamese parliament. The event was broadcast on live television.[26][27]

Brunswijk was owner of Robruns NV, a gold mining company. According to a Parbode [nl], Brunswijk owned six gold concessions in 2012.[28][29][30] In July 2020, Brunswijk transferred ownership of the gold concessions to a foundation in order to qualify for the Vice Presidency.[31]

2020 elections

Brunswijk was elected to the National Assembly in the 2020 elections.[32] He was elected as Chairman of the National Assembly of Suriname on 29 June 2020 in an uncontested election. Dew Sharman was elected as Vice Chairman.[8] Brunswijk subsequently ran for vice president,[33] and on 8 July, Brunswijk announced that he will be succeeded by Marinus Bee as Chairman of the National Assembly[34] who was installed on 14 July.[35][36] Brunswijk was the shortest serving Chairman in the history of Suriname.[37]

On 1 July 2020, Brunswijk tested COVID-19 positive. He had been tested, because Paul Somohardjo with whom he had lengthy meetings about the new government tested positive.[38] He was released from hospital on 6 July.[39] To show his appreciation for the hospital staff, he donated three cars to nurses who did not have transportation.[40]

On 7 July, the coalition nominated Chan Santokhi as President of Suriname and Ronnie Brunswijk as Vice-President.[33] No other candidates have been nominated as per 8 July 2020, 15:00 (UTC−3), and therefore Brunswijk was elected as vice president on 13 July by acclamation in an uncontested election.[41][42] Brunswijk was inaugurated as vice president on 16 July on the Onafhankelijkheidsplein in Paramaribo in ceremony without public due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[43][10]

Football career


Brunswijk is also a player and owner of Marowijne football club Inter Moengotapoe.[44] In 2002, Brunswijk built a football stadium in Moengo, which he named the Ronnie Brunswijkstadion.[45] The disciplinary committee of the Surinamese Football Association suspended him for five years because he threatened some players with a handgun during a match in 2005. The suspension was retracted due to lack of evidence.[44] In June 2012, Brunswijk was suspended for one year because he behaved violently towards the referee and a player in football match.[46]

Playing career

On 21 September 2021, Brunswijk played for Inter Moengotapoe (the club he owns) as a starter in the first leg of a round of 16 fixture in the 2021 CONCACAF League against Honduran side C.D. Olimpia. He played for 54 minutes and completed 14 of the 17 attempted passes before he was replaced in the second half by his son Damian Brunswijk during the 6–0 home loss.[47] He made history by becoming the oldest player to play in an international club competition, at 60 years and 198 days old. He donned the number 61 jersey as a tribute to the year he was born and captained the team during the match.[48]

Brunswijk made international headlines for playing in the match.[49][50][51] Following the match, video leaked online that showed Brunswijk paying Olimpia players after the match, suspecting pundits that Brunswijk engaged in match fixing. On 22 September 2021, CONCACAF launched a formal investigation.[52] Three days later, the federation announced the investigation had found "serious breaches of integrity rules", with both clubs being disqualified from the tournament and Brunswijk being banned from "participating in any capacity in CONCACAF competitions" for three years as a result.[53]

Personal life

Brunswijk's nephew, Clyde Brunswijk, is a professional kickboxer.[54] Steven Brunswijk [nl], a Dutch comedian and television personality is another nephew.[55]


  1. ^ a b "Het bloedbad van Moiwana in Suriname". Is (in Dutch). 29 November 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d Bonno Thoden van Velzen (1988). "De Brunswijk-opstand: Antropologische kanttekeningen bij de Surinaamse burgeroorlog". University of Groningen (in Dutch). Sociologische Gids. Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  3. ^ "Brunswijk: Ik vind het erg dat Elton cocaïne wilde uitvoeren". Star Nieuws (in Dutch). Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  4. ^ "The Ndyuka Treaty Of 1760: A Conversation with Granman Gazon". Cultural Survival. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  5. ^ "Panorama de la population immigrée en Guyane" (PDF). INSEE. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
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  7. ^ a b Boven, Karin M. (2006). Overleven in een Grensgebied: Veranderingsprocessen bij de Wayana in Suriname en Frans-Guyana - Page 207 (PDF). Amsterdam: Rozenberg Publishers.
  8. ^ a b "Live blog: Verkiezing parlementsvoorzitter". De Ware Tijd (in Dutch). Retrieved 29 June 2020.
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  10. ^ a b "Breaking: Ronnie Brunswijk ingezworen als vicepresident Suriname". Suriname Herald (in Dutch). Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  11. ^ "De tien gezichten van Ronnie Brunswijk". Parbode (in Dutch). 16 March 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
  12. ^ a b "The making of Ronnie Brunswijk in Nederlandse media". Rozenburg Quarterly (in Dutch). Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  13. ^ a b c "Zijne Excellentie Ronnie Brunswijk". Star Nieuws (in Dutch). Retrieved 11 July 2020.
  14. ^ "Leger Suriname zoekt gijzelaars". Reformatorisch Dagblad via Digibron (in Dutch). 26 July 1986. Retrieved 30 June 2020. The newspaper article of 26 July - four days later - stated that it was assumed that Brunswijk was behind the attack
  15. ^ a b "Kolonel Bas Van Tussenbroek En Ronnie Brunswijk (video)". Nederlandse Programma Stichting via (in Dutch). 12 November 2000. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
  16. ^ "De bouterse connectie". De Groene Amsterdammer (in Dutch). 10 August 1994. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
  17. ^ NRC Handelsblad - Brunswijk wijst graf aan van moorden bij Moiwana
  18. ^ "Distrikt Marowijne". (in Dutch). Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  19. ^ Inter-American Court of Human Rights (8 February 2006). "2006.02.08 Moiwana Village vs Suriname" (PDF). World Courts. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  20. ^ "Compromis in de maak rond Kourou-akkoord". Reformatorisch Dagblad via Digibron (in Dutch). 1 August 1989. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  21. ^ "Sranan. Cultuur in Suriname". Digital Library for Dutch Literature (in Dutch). 1992. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  22. ^ - "Acht jaar cel voor Ronnie Brunswijk "
  23. ^ "Zes jaar cel voor Brunswijk". Trouw (in Dutch). 11 October 2000. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  24. ^ "Santokhi nieuwe president Suriname, de door Interpol gezochte Brunswijk wordt vicepresident". Trouw (in Dutch). 13 July 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  25. ^ "Ronnie Brunswijk nieuwe voorzitter Surinaams parlement". Nederlands Dagblad (in Dutch). Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  26. ^ Paramaribo (3 July 2020). "Surinaamse parlementariërs met elkaar op de vuist". Waterkant (in Dutch).
  27. ^
  28. ^ "De 10 golden boys van Suriname". Parbode via (in Dutch). Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  29. ^ "Gold concessions in Suriname 2013-06-08" (PDF). (in Dutch). 8 June 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  30. ^ "The Golden Mountains of Suriname (Dutch with English subtitles)". Vice via YouTube. 22 February 2017. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  31. ^ "Brunswijk maakt zich op voor vicepresidentschap". Star Nieuws (in Dutch). Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  32. ^ "16 vrouwen gekozen in DNA; 18 oud-leden keren terug". Star Nieuws (in Dutch). Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  33. ^ a b "Santokhi en Brunswijk kandidaat president en vicepresident". De Ware Tijd (in Dutch). Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  34. ^ "Brunswijk: Bee zal voorzittershamer Assemblee overnemen". Star Nieuws (in Dutch). Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  35. ^ "Nieuwe voorzitter DNA wordt dinsdag gekozen". De Ware Tijd (in Dutch). Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  36. ^ "Marinus Bee neemt vandaag voorzitterschap DNA over". (in Dutch). Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  37. ^ "Brunswijk in fotogalerij DNA als gewezen voorzitter". Suriname Herald (in Dutch). Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  38. ^ "Brunswijk ook positief; DNA-vergadering uitgesteld". Star Nieuws (in Dutch). Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  39. ^ "DNA-voorzitter Brunswijk ontslagen uit ziekenhuis". Suriname Herald (in Dutch). Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  40. ^ "Brunswijk verrast IC personeel ziekenhuis met 3 auto's". Waterkant (in Dutch). Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  41. ^ "Kandidaatstelling Santokhi en Brunswijk een feit". Star Nieuws (in Dutch). Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  42. ^ "Breaking: NDP dient geen lijst in". Dagblad Suriname (in Dutch). Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  43. ^ "Inauguratie nieuwe president van Suriname op Onafhankelijkheidsplein". Waterkant (in Dutch). Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  44. ^ a b "Ronnie Brunswijk 30 dagen geschorst". Dagblad Suriname (in Dutch). Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  45. ^ "De voetbalcarrière van Ronnie Brunswijk". Sportgeschiedenis via (in Dutch). Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  46. ^ "Brunswijk mag een jaar niet meedoen met zijn club". Star Nieuws (in Dutch). Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  47. ^ Bengel, Chris (22 September 2021). "Suriname vice president, 60, plays 54 minutes in CONCACAF League match for team he owns". CBS Sports. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  48. ^ Garcia, Adriana (22 September 2021). "Suriname VP, 60, breaks oldest player record". Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  49. ^ Garcia, Adriana (22 September 2021). "Suriname vice president, 60, becomes oldest player in international club competition". ESPN. Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  50. ^ Bonesteel, Matt (22 September 2021). "Suriname's vice president inserted himself into a pro soccer match. He's 60". The Washington Post. Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  51. ^ Tolmich, Ryan (22 September 2021). "60-year-old Suriname vice president Brunswijk starts CONCACAF League match for Inter Moengotapoe". Goal. Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  52. ^ Guy, Jack (23 September 2021). "Ronnie Brunswijk: Soccer body launches probe after locker room video of Suriname vice president raises 'integrity issues'". CNN. Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  53. ^ "Concacaf Statement regarding Inter Moengo Tapoe and CD Olimpia". Concacaf. 25 September 2021. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  54. ^ "Mixfight in gesprek met SuperKombat vechter Clyde-Brunswijk" (in Dutch). MixFight. 23 September 2014.
  55. ^ "Steven Brunswijk - voorheen de 'Braboneger' - laat het schuren in 'Van slaaf tot meester'". Trouw (in Dutch). Retrieved 30 June 2020.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by Vice President of Suriname
Succeeded by