Chan Santokhi

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Chan Santokhi
Chan Santokhi.jpg
Minister of Justice and Police
In office
1 September 2005 – 13 August 2010
Member of the National Assembly
Assumed office
12 August 2010
Leader of the Progressive Reform Party
Assumed office
3 July 2011
Preceded by Ramdien Sardjoe
Personal details
Born Chandrikapersad Santokhi
(1959-02-03) 3 February 1959 (age 59)
Lelydorp, Suriname
Political party Vooruitstrevende Hervormings Partij (VHP)
Website Party website (in Dutch)

Chandrikapersad Santokhi (born 3 February 1959), also known as Chan Santokhi, is a Surinamese politician and former chief of police.


Chan Santokhi was born on 3 February 1959, in Lelydorp, in district Suriname (now known as district Wanica). He grew up in the countryside as the youngest in a family of nine children. His father worked at the harbor of Paramaribo and his mother worked as a shop assistant in Lelydorp.[1]

Police career[edit]

After Santokhi obtained his vwo diploma at the Algemene Middelbare School highschool in Paramaribo, he received a scholarship to study in the Netherlands. From 1978 till 1982 he studied at the Police Academy of the Netherlands in Apeldoorn.[2] After completing his study he returned to Suriname in September 1982 to work for the police. Since the age of 23, Santokhi worked as a police inspector in Geyersvlijt and Wanica until he was appointed in 1989 as head of the national criminal investigation department. In 1991 he was appointed chief commissioner of police.[3]

Minister of Justice[edit]

In September, 2005, Santokhi was sworn in as Minister of Justice and Police on behalf of the Progressive Reform Party. His period in office was marked by a heavy crackdown on crime, in particular drug trafficking, and a strict, no-nonsense enforcement of law and order. This earned him the nickname sheriff, which he got from Dési Bouterse.

Rivalry with Desi Bouterse[edit]

Santokhi who, as police commissioner, led the investigation to the December murders did in the start of his ministership a lot so that the December murders trial could finally commence. Exclusive for the December murders trial he had a heavily secured courtroom built in Domburg, Wanica. Because Santokhi was the impulse behind the trial, he became a much discussed matter of the main suspect in that trial, Dési Bouterse. Bouterse said on November 26, 2007, four days before the commencement of the trial, that Santokhi wanted to "imprison and kill him".[4] Bouterse adduced that numerous previous attempts to "take him out" all failed and warned Santokhi to be cautious with his "intentions to eliminate Bouterse". At the moment, the December murders trial is still ongoing.

Santokhi's dislike of Bouterse was often associated with the anti-Bouterse policy of the Netherlands.

Presidential elections 2010[edit]

At the 2010 parliamentary elections Santokhi had, despite being placed low on the voters list of the Progressive Reform Party, second most votes nationwide (Dési Bouterse had the most). In July of that year he was appointed as presidential candidate on behalf of the ruling Nieuw Front political combination (the Progressive Reform Party is part of Nieuw Front). Santokhi's opponent in the presidential elections was Dési Bouterse. Because Bouterse cooperated with Ronnie Brunswijk and Paul Somohardjo, his political party had 36 seats, while Nieuw Front had only fourteen. Consequently Bouterse was elected ninth President of Suriname.


Santokhi, who for fifteen years was the official representative of the Comisión Interamericana para el Control del Abuso de Drogas (CICAD) (Inter American Drug Abuse Control Commission), was chosen on 6 December 2010, as president of this organization for one year. CICAD is an autonomous body of the Organization of American States, that coordinates the drug policy of the Western Hemisphere. In 2009 Santokhi was, also for one year, the vice-president of this organization.[5][6]

Chairman of Progressive Reform Party[edit]

On 3 July 2011, Santokhi was elected as chairman of the Vooruitstrevende Hervormings Partij (VHP) (Progressive Reform Party). The Progressive Reform Party, which was once a Hindustani party, has grown, since the appointment of Santokhi as chairman, into a multi-ethnical party which, according to current statistics, is the second biggest political party in Suriname.[7] Currently, with eight seats in the parliament, the VHP is the biggest opposition party.

External links[edit]