Law enforcement authorities on St. Maarten and those at the central and kingdom levels have to remain committed to curbing and eventually put a halt to the most recent increase in serious crime activities plaguing St. Maarten.
With St. Maarten still subjected to many of the law enforcement shortcomings of past years, an urgent appeal is being made to the Central Government, particularly the Minister of Justice, David Dick, to look into the possibility of making available additional manpower and resources for the St. Maarten police force, within the shortest possible time. This according to St. Maarten’s Local Chief of Police, Governor Franklyn Richards.
The call comes against the backdrop of the shooting and killing of a businessman resident in Cole bay on Tuesday evening as well as a spate of armed robberies, home invasions and burglaries witnessed all over the island in past weeks.
Richards is expressing sincere condolences to wife, Nisha, family and friends of the late Haresh "Danny" Dayalanin, who is the person killed on Tuesday night. At the same time he said that he wishes to express solidarity with all victims of the recent upsurge in crime.
"This week’s senseless killing and the repeated reports of armed bandits using violence against innocent victims, is indicative that the criminal element is operating with disdain for life and safety considerations of the public", says Richards.
He notes that the present situation is truly alarming and is one requiring the immediate response of the responsible authorities, charged with guaranteeing safety and security for the people of St. Maarten.
Local Chief of Police, Governor Franklyn Richards says that the public and operators of businesses have no other choice but to stay alert, at all times, in an effort to aid authorities in their ongoing efforts to apprehend robbery suspects still at large. "All of us need to stay alert and recognize that we need to do more, in order to safeguard against the innocent loss of life. As has now unfortunately been confirmed, whenever firearms are used, something can go desperately wrong, and someone has lost his life", noted the Local Chief of Police.
As such, Richards is joining the police department in calling on the public to provide information of suspected armed robbers and of persons acting suspiciously around homes or business places, which could be likely targets for armed robberies, home invasions, burglaries and other acts of violence.
"It is evident that the criminal element has, once again, set out to wreak havoc upon residents", says Richards.
"With the police department still coping with a structural lack of manpower and resources, the arrest of suspects could certainly be aided by a more alert public", says Richards.
Residents and business establishments will do well to educate themselves, employees and security staff in what to do and what not to do before, during and after coming face to face with armed criminals.
"What is important is that residents of St. Maarten do away with the notion that a home, a neighborhood or business establishment and its surroundings is that secure that it will not become a target of armed bandits" adds the Local Chief of Police.
"The events of late are a stark reminder of the need to receive immediate aid to address the concern about safety in our relatively peaceful and safe community. It’s better to have received this aid and be prepared that not be protected and experience victimization on a grander scale", warns Governor Richards.
"With this way of thinking, the police as well as the public could be more involved in early intervention initiatives; the community can assist in finding solutions to armed robberies and other crime incidents that would reduce actual crime numbers and help prevent crimes. Added to this is the critical element of preventive focus. In order to create effective and lasting solutions to crime problems, preventive problem-solving strategies must be developed and used to complement the continued practice of responding to incidents after they happen" says the Local Chief of Police.
Governor Richards says that he remains in favor of greater police visibility with the presence of more police officers on the streets, intensified controls, and increased cooperation with the Marechaussees and RST team as well as possible temporary police re-enforcements from Curacao.
The still to be completed structural enhancement of the local police force, will do much to take a bite out of crime, says Richards.