On Friday, December 15, U.S. Ambassador Robert Faucher, Defense Minister Krishna Mathoera, and Chief of Defense Col. Werner Kioe A Sen travelled to Langatabiki in northern Sipalawini to complete the Gran Matie 2023 exercise by delivering 65 pairs of eyeglasses to residents there. The donation was made possible by the U.S. Military’s Southern Command as part of the Surinamese Defense Force’s Gran Matie exercise in August. Lorgnet Optometry came to determine prescriptions in August and produced the glasses. Ambassador Faucher, Minister Mathoera, and Col. Kioe A Sen were received by Granman Jozef Misajere Forster and other leaders from Langatabiki. District Commissioner Ose Jabini also joined the visiting delegation.
Ambassador Faucher was pleased to return to Langatabiki for a second visit and hopes to visit again in the future. The cooperation between the Suriname Defense Force and the American military on humanitarian projects such as Gran Matie serves to deepen the relationship between the two countries and helps them gain joint experience in preparation for future humanitarian crises. As the ambassador noted “It is important for us to show that our friendship extends to all areas of Suriname, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work with the residents in Langatabiki. Delivering these eyeglasses fulfills the promise we made in August to return and see our friends here again.”